Field Experiments

Ruth Ditlmann, Elizabeth Levy Paluck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Field experiments are experiments in settings with high degrees of naturalism. This article describes different types of field experiments, including randomized field trials, randomized rollout designs, encouragement designs, downstream field experiments, hybrid lab-field experiments, and covert population experiments, and discusses their intellectual background and benefits. It also lists methodological challenges researchers can encounter when conducting field experiments, including failure to treat, selective attrition, spillover, difficulty of replication, and black box causality, and discusses available solutions. Finally, it provides an overview over current and emerging directions in field experimentation and concludes with a brief history of field experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Attrition
  • Audit studies
  • Causality
  • Correspondence studies
  • Encouragement designs
  • Experiments
  • External validity
  • Failure to treat
  • Hybrid field experiments
  • Naturalism
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Randomized rollout designs
  • Social experiments
  • Stepped wedge designs
  • Waiting list designs


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