Experimental Methods

A 2-Day Seminar Taught by Michael Gaddis, Ph.D.

Experiments in the social and behavioral sciences have become more popular as the Internet has made implementing experiments easier, cheaper, and faster. Although researchers may have a conceptual knowledge of how experiments work, the actual experience of implementing an 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 seminar is a moderately-paced introduction to experimental methods that will leave researchers able to begin designing their own experiments and embarking on data collection. We begin by focusing on the what, when, and why of experiments in the social sciences, with a comprehensive introduction to vocabulary, diagramming, and the theoretical basis of conducting experiments. We then walk through the specific steps required in experimental design, from ethical issues to power analysis to the universe of validity concerns. We conclude with two sections on practical design issues of survey and field experiments, drawing on recent published cases and the instructor’s own experiences. These sections incorporate hands-on practice using online resources to give students the confidence to begin designing their own experiments.

By the end of the seminar, participants should understand the basic terminology of experiments, when experiments can and should be implemented, the causal advantages of experiments, the ethical issues surrounding experiments, the major aspects of randomization, blocking, matching, and sampling, and the major issues regarding different types of validity. Participants will also gain practical knowledge of MTurk, Qualtrics, and SurveyMonkey for use with survey experiments, along with a variety of programming scripts and tools for use with field experiments. Overall, participants will gain the knowledge to immediately begin designing valid and robust experiments to address a variety of research questions.


To participate in the hands-on exercises, you are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop computer (Windows or Mac) and not rely on a tablet only. No software is necessary.


This seminar is designed for researchers at any level who have an interest in conducting their own experiments or simply want to be able to better understand the methodological details of experiments conducted by others. Participants need only a basic understanding of general research design.


The class will meet from 9 am to 5 pm each day with a 1-hour lunch break at Temple University Center City, 1515 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. 

Participants receive a bound manual containing detailed lecture notes (with equations and graphics), examples of computer printout, and many other useful features. This book frees participants from the distracting task of note taking.


The fee of $995.00 includes all seminar materials. The early registration fee of $895.00 is available until April 16.

Refund Policy

If you cancel your registration at least two weeks before the course is scheduled to begin, you are entitled to a full refund (minus a processing fee of $50). 

Lodging Reservation Instructions

A block of guest rooms has been reserved at the Club Quarters Hotel, 1628 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA at a special rate of $165 per night. This location is about a 5-minute walk to the seminar location. In order to make reservations, call 203-905-2100 during business hours and identify yourself by using group code SH0515 or click here. For guaranteed rate and availability, you must reserve your room no later than Monday, April 15, 2019.

If you make reservations after the cut-off date ask for the Statistical Horizons room rate (do not use the code) and they will try to accommodate your request.


  1. Using experiments to establish causation
  2. The ethics of experimental design
  3. Major issues of design – randomization, blocking, matching, and sampling
  4. Major issues of validity – internal, construct, external, and statistical conclusion
  5. Statistical power and conducting a power analysis
  6. Analyzing your results
  7. Turning the theoretical into the practical: Hands-on with survey experiments
  8. Turning the theoretical into the practical: Hands-on with field experiments