Experimental political science and the study of causality: From nature to the lab

Rebecca B. Morton, Kenneth C. Williams

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Increasingly, political scientists are describing their empirical research or the reasoning behind their choices in empirical research using the terms “experiment” or “experimental.” One of the primary reasons for doing so is the advantage of experiments in establishing causal inferences. In this book, Rebecca B. Morton and Kenneth C. Williams discuss in detail how experiments and experimental reasoning with observational data can help researchers determine causality. They explore how control and random assignment mechanisms work, examining both the Rubin causal model and the formal theory approaches to causality. They also cover general topics in experimentation such as the history of experimentation in political science; internal and external validity of experimental research; types of experiments - field, laboratory, virtual, and survey - and how to choose, recruit, and motivate subjects in experiments. They investigate ethical issues in experimentation, the process of securing approval from institutional review boards for human subject research, and the use of deception in experimentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages590
ISBN (Electronic)9780511762888
ISBN (Print)9780521199667
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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