Generalizing Results from Experimental Research

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology (host committee)

Language: English

Experimental methods are increasingly applied in the social sciences. We believe that, as with other social sciences, experiments will grow more relevant for sociology in upcoming years. A crucial concern is that small-scale experiments (e.g. on individuals’ norm adherence), both in the lab and in the field, are not generalizable to other social conditions and thus do not contribute to answering large-scale research questions (e.g. the stability of social order). Solutions to this methodological problem are essential for the spreading of experimental methods in the social sciences. This particularly holds for sociology which is mainly concerned with aggregate states, dynamics, and outcomes. 
We invite contributions dealing with this methodological problem of experimental research. This might include papers stressing the role of theory in experimental design, the search for mechanisms to obtain generalizable results from context-sensitive designs, and studies comparing differences across experimental designs. More specifically, we seek theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions to the following questions: 

  • How can intervention studies overcome problems such as lack of theory? 
  • Can theory contribute to the resolution of context dependency in experimental research? 
  • What can social theory gain from small-scale experiments? 
  • What are the potentials and pitfalls of large-scale online experiments? 
  • Do field experiments live up to their promise of bringing context back in? 
  • What can we learn from factorial surveys and split-ballot experiments? 
  • What do we know about the problems and prospects of different types of experiments? 
  • How do reactivity, effect heterogeneity, and other distortions to causal inference affect applicability of experimental methods?
Session Organizers:
Stefanie EIFLER, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany, Marc KEUSCHNIGG, LMU München, Germany, Susanne VOGL, Universität Wien, Austria and Tobias WOLBRING, Universität Mannheim, Germany
Convincing Evidence? a Meta-Analysis on Field Experiments on Ethnic Discrimination in the Housing Market
Andreas SCHNECK, LMU Munich, Germany; Katrin AUSPURG, LMU Munich, Germany
Let the Others Do the Job: Comparing Public Good Contribution Behavior in the Lab and in the Field
Ilona REINDL, University of Vienna, Austria; Roman HOFFMANN, University of Vienna, Austria; Bernhard KITTEL, University of Vienna, Austria
Do Personalized Salutations in Text Messages Lead to Higher Response Rates? Results from an Experiment
Chiara RESPI, Università di Milano-Bicocca, Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale, Italy; Emanuela SALA, Universita di Milano Bicocca, Italy