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Experimental Approaches for Social Research

20th November 2017 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Experimental approaches for social research

Course Code


Organised by
The University of Edinburgh


Daniel Nettle, Professor of Behavioural Science, Newcastle University.
Gillian Pepper, Research Associate, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University




Room 3.04, Charteris Land
Moray House School of Education
The University of Edinburgh
Holyrood Road


View in Google Maps (EH8 9JX)


Laura Marshall
The University of Edinburgh
0131 651 3001
[email protected]
Working week Monday – Wednesday


Social questions are not traditionally studied using experimental methods; indeed, the lack of prominence given to the experimental method is one of the features often said to distinguish social science from the biological or physical sciences. However, there are approaches available to the social scientist that can fairly be described as experimental. These include the economic games of experimental economics, to the ‘experiments in the field’ of experimental ethnography, the natural experiments that have high evidential value in public health, and large randomized controlled trials increasingly used in public policy and development economics. This one-day course explores these various different types of experiment. It emphasises the practical and creative aspects of designing experiments, and the ethical and interpretative issues they throw up. It will draw examples from a wide range of research areas. The aim is to give participants a clear sense of what kinds of experimental options they might have, and how they could devise novel experimental approaches of their own, even at the small scale and with modest resources. Each session of the course will mix presentations, group discussions, and practical exercises.


Intermediate (some prior knowledge)


The fee per teaching day is:
1. £30 – For UK registered postgraduate students
2. £60 – For staff at UK academic institutions, ESRC funded researchers and registered charity organisations
3. £220 – For all other participants
All fees include event materials, lunch and tea breaks. They do not include travel and accommodation costs.
Full refund for cancellation one month before the course, NO refunds can be made after this date.

Website and registration





Experimental Research , Randomized Control Trials (RCT), Ethnographic Research, Behavioural Research, Multi-strategy research, Research Ethics

Related publications and presentations

Experimental Research
Randomized Control Trials (RCT)
Ethnographic Research
Behavioural Research
Multi-strategy research
Research Ethics


20th November 2017
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
NINE DTP - a collaborative partnership funded by the ESRC