Introduction to Experiments in Sociology

Course content

The experimental method is an extremely powerful approach to investigate theorized mechanisms and causal relations. While the controlled laboratory experiment that is commonly associated with the method in the popular imagination is often not available to sociologist, there are a number of related experimental approaches that are commonly used in sociological research and that, in fact, pervade our daily lives.

 

This course introduces students to the experimental method, its strengths and weaknesses, and applications in sociological research. We will review methodological developments that freed the method from the laboratory setting, such as survey experiments, field experiments, and audit studies. Using peer-reviewed publications, students will gain an understanding of how these alternative experimental approaches can be used to answer sociological questions and how they have contributed to knowledge in all subfields of the discipline.

 

After successful participation, students will be comfortable reading current sociological research using experimental methods, evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and be able to identify potential research questions in sociology that can be answered using the experiments.

Education

Course package

Welfare, inequality and mobility

Knowledge, organisation and policy

Culture, lifestyle and everyday life

Learning outcome

Knowledge

  • Successful participation in the class will prepare students to account for the benefit of applying experimental approaches to study sociological questions
  • Additionally, students will be able to identify experimental approaches suited to answer specific sociological problems

 

Skills

  • Students will gain facility with working with understanding experimental designs specifically as they relate to social science applications
  • Students will be able to evaluate and put into perspective the strengths and weaknesses of given experimental approaches in contrast to other potential research approaches

 

Competencies

  • Students will be able to plan sociological studies that leverage the potential of the experimental methods
  • Students will be able to specialize in cutting-edge experimental methodologies

- Lectures
- Class discussions
- Student presentations

Readings are comprised primarily of peer-reviewed journal articles. All other materials will be provided through Absalon.

Students should have a general understanding of sociological theory and be aware of the different subfields constituting the discipline.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

Structured feedback to student presentations

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio
A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments that address one or more set questions. The assignments are written as the course progresses. All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. Portfolio assignments can be written individually or in small groups (max. four students).
The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 70
  • Exercises
  • 28
  • Exam
  • 80
  • English
  • 206