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Book description

Experiments are a central methodology in the social sciences. Scholars from every discipline regularly turn to experiments. Practitioners rely on experimental evidence in evaluating social programs, policies, and institutions. This book is about how to “think” about experiments. It argues that designing a good experiment is a slow moving process (given the host of considerations) which is counter to the current fast moving temptations available in the social sciences. The book includes discussion of the place of experiments in the social science process, the assumptions underlying different types of experiments, the validity of experiments, the application of different designs, how to arrive at experimental questions, the role of replications in experimental research, and the steps involved in designing and conducting “good” experiments. The goal is to ensure social science research remains driven by important substantive questions and fully exploits the potential of experiments in a thoughtful manner.


‘Experimental Thinking is a remarkable achievement. In its comprehensiveness of coverage of the diverse uses of experiments in contemporary social science, its level of sophistication, its balance of considerations pro and con, and its grace of expression, it is singular.’

Paul Sniderman - Stanford University

‘Druckman pushes back against the fast-moving Mturkification of experimental research, advocating fewer quick and dirty experiments that are not closely tied to theory building. Although I am relieved to see experimentation accepted as a mainstream method in political science, this book provides a much needed antidote to the fast lane characterizing the current profusion of experimental studies.’

Diana Mutz - University of Pennsylvania

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