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Introduction to experimental methods in the social & behavioral sciences

September 12, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm


A 4-hour workshop taught by Dr. S. Michael Gaddis, Ph.D.



During the past decade, experiments in the social and behavioral sciences have gained in popularity as the internet has made implementing experiments easier, cheaper, and faster.  However, although researchers may have a conceptual knowledge of how experiments work, the actual experience of implementing an experiment for the first time is often frustrating and time consuming.  Researchers without prior experience often struggle with a number of issues such as navigating IRB, obtaining true random sampling and assignment, understanding blocking, and interpreting different types of treatment effects.  The initial learning curve may be steep but the rewards are plentiful as experiments produce highly valued original data, lend themselves to causal analysis in ways that traditional survey data cannot, and become easier to implement as a researcher’s experience level increases.

Expected outcomes

By the end of the workshop, participants should understand the basic terminology of experiments, when experiments can and should be implemented, the causal advantages of experiments, the major ethical issues surrounding experiments, the major aspects of randomization, blocking, matching, and sampling, and the major aspects of different types of validity with experiments. Most importantly, participants should gain the knowledge to immediately begin designing valid and robust experiments to address a variety of research questions.

Pricing and Schedule

Time: Wednesday, September 12, 12PM to 4PM (EST)
Cost: $175
Location: Online

We offer $25 graduate student and multiple workshop discounts. Find out about our discounts here.

Time permitting, at the end of the class Dr. Gaddis will also answer questions about participants’ specific research projects. Participants can ask questions via chat, microphone, or telephone. In order to allow sufficient time for questions, the number of workshop participants is limited to 30.

Who should attend?

The target audience is researchers at any level who have an interest in conducting their own experiment or simply want to be able to better understand the methodological details of experiments conducted by others. Participants need only to have a basic understand of general research design to take this workshop.


  1. Using experiments to establish causation
  2. The best cases for using experiments in the social and behavioral sciences
  3. The ethics of experimental design
  4. Major issues of design – randomization, blocking, matching, and sampling
  5. Major issues of validity – internal, construct, external, and statistical conclusion
  6. Statistical power and conducting a power analysis
  7. Analyzing your results
  8. Turning the theoretical into the practical: examples of survey and field experiments

About the instructor

Dr. S. Michael Gaddis is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA whose research focuses on racial discrimination, educational inequality, and mental health. He often uses experiments to examine levels of discrimination in employment and housing as well as the conditions under which racial discrimination occurs. He has led the data collection efforts on over a dozen field and survey experiments.

He recently published a book on the experimental method used to investigate discrimination titled Audit Studies: Behind the Scenes with Theory, Method, and Nuance. His research has been published in top journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Social Forces, Social Science & Medicine, and Sociological Science and has been funded by the National Academy of Education, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. His work has been covered by The Boston Globe, The Economist, Education Week, Inside Higher Ed, PBS NewsHour, and Times Higher Education.

Learn more about Dr. Gaddis here.



September 12, 2018
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category: