Research Design for Causal Inference

Field Experiment Assignments

Research Design for Causal Inference


In this classroom-based research project, you will design, plan, execute, analyze, and write up the results of a field experiment. You may complete the project indpendently or in a small team. Given the tight timeline for the project, you may want to adapt the scope of your design accordingly. That said, I encourage you to pursue a project that can (in the short or long term) lead to truly original findings on a subject you care about.

Ethical conduct & guidelines

We will discuss some of the ethical concerns around experiments in class. Note that many of your class projects will likely fall under the Northwestern IRB's guidlines for a classroom-based research project. However, if you plan to publish the findings of your Field Experiment and it meets the IRB definition of "Human Subjects Research," you may need to submit a protocol or human subjects research determination form. Please contact me (Aaron) or Northwestern IRB Social and Behavioral Sciences personnel with any questions.


The project is broken down into four incremental assignments, each with its own due date and deliverables. All deliverables should be handed in via Canvas. Several of the deliverables require you to refer to the Research Planning Document instructions.

1. Brainstorm and design (due April 15).
2. Planning and piloting (due May 6).
3. Complete and write up the experiment (due May 20).
4. Peer evaluation & reflection (due May 27).


I will evaluate your completed experiment with the same evaluation criteria you will use to evaluate each other's work. I will return my completed evaluation to you within 10 days of when you submit the assignment.