Lugano, Switzerland

Designing and Conducting Social-scientific Experiments

when 14 August 2023 - 18 August 2023
language English
duration 1 week
fee CHF 700

Are norm violations contagious? Are people with more acquaintances more successful at finding a job? Are sanctioning institutions effective in promoting human cooperation? Why are working mothers more penalised by employers than working fathers? Why do prisoners fight? Are generous people more trustworthy? Under what conditions are individuals subject to success-breeds-success dynamics? These questions are rather difficult to address by means of observational data. In recent years, researchers have addressed these and other fundamental questions using experiments.

This course covers the design, implementation, and analytic tools necessary for conducting social science experiments. Students will learn what research questions can be addressed using a wide range of experimental methods. After a brief recap of the counterfactual approach to causal inference and experimental designs (day 1), the course will cover the theoretical and practical aspects of designing and conducting survey experiments (day 2), laboratory experiments (day 3), online experiments (day 4), and field experiments (day 5).

The objective is to provide students with the theoretical foundations for designing, implementing, conducting and analyzing experiments, but also to learn the applied aspects of experimental social science. Each day is divided in three parts. In the morning, after a lecture introducing the topic (part 1), we will work through the implementation of different types of experiments using oTree (part 2). In the afternoon, students will develop and receive feedback on their own experimental projects as part of group assignments (part 3).

Course leader

Wojtek Przepiorka is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at Utrecht University

Target group

graduate students, doctoral researchers, early career researchers


Basic knowledge of multiple regression analysis, a concrete idea for an experimental project, the willingness to learn basic commands in Python, and the willingness to work in groups.

Credits info

The Summer School cannot grant credits. We only deliver a Certificate of Participation, i.e. we certify your attendance.

If you consider using Summer School workshops to obtain credits (ECTS), you will have to investigate at your home institution (contact the person/institute responsible for your degree) to find out whether they recognise the Summer School, how many credits can be earned from a workshop/course with roughly 35 hours of teaching, no graded work, and no exams.

Make sure to investigate this matter before registering if this is important to you.

Fee info

CHF 700: Reduced fee: 700 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for students (requires proof of student status).
CHF 1100: Normal fee: 1100 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for all others.