Correspondence Audits: Design Issues and Practical Examples
Time: February 22, 8:30-9:30 PM (US ET)
Speaker: S. Michael Gaddis, NWEA and formerly UCLA
Abstract: During the past decade, field 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 a field experiment for the first time is often frustrating and time consuming. 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. This talk will introduce social scientists to the basics of a particular type of field experiment -- the correspondence audit. Attendees will learn when and why correspondence audits are an appropriate method, how to navigate ethical issues and IRB, and we will walk through a number of design issues that first time users often struggle with. Dr. Gaddis will provide practical examples from his own and others' work to illuminate some of the pitfalls of this method and help the audience gain confidence in embarking on their own field experiments.