Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences

Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences, 2nd Edition

Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences, 2nd Edition,Murray Webster,Jane Sell,ISBN9780124046818

Webster   &   Sell   

Academic Press




229 X 152

This second edition reference offers psychologists and researchers in social science an overview of which laboratory experiments answer various research questions, and how to set the experiments up and analyze results.

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Key Features

  • Provides a comprehensive summary of issues in social science experimentation, from ethics to design, management, and financing
  • Offers "how-to" explanations of the problems and challenges faced by everyone involved in social science experiments
  • Pays attention to both practical problems and to theoretical and philosophical arguments
  • Defines commonalities and distinctions within and among experimental situations across the social sciences


While there are many books available on statistical analysis of data from experiments, there is significantly less available on the design, development, and actual conduct of the experiments. Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences summarizes how to design and conduct scientifically sound experiments, be they from surveys, interviews, observations, or experimental methods. The book encompasses how to collect reliable data, the appropriate uses of different methods, and how to avoid or resolve common problems in experimental research. Case study examples illustrate how multiple methods can be used to answer the same research questions and what kinds of outcome would result from each methodology.  Sound data begins with effective data collection. This book will assist students and professionals alike in sociology, marketing, political science, anthropology, economics, and psychology.


The book will be used in methods classes and for work in social science laboratories in sociology, marketing, political science, anthropology, economics, and psychology.

Murray Webster

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, USA

Jane Sell

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Sociology, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA

Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences, 2nd Edition

Part I - Designing and Conducting Experiments

Chapter 1 - Why Do Experiments?

Murray Webster, Jr., and Jane Sell

Chapter 2 - Ethics and Experiments

Karen A. Hegtvedt

Chapter 3 - Logical and Philosophical Foundations of Experimental Research in the Social Sciences

Shane R. Thye

Chapter 4 - Training Interviewers and Experimenters

Robert K. Shelly

Chapter 5 - Human Participants in Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences

Will Kalkhoff, Reef Youngreen, Leda Nath, and Michael J. Lovaglia

Chapter 6 - Developing Your Experiment

Lisa Slattery Walker

Chapter 7 - Common Problems and Solutions in Experiments

Kathy J. Kuipers and Stuart J. Hysom

Part II - Experiments Across the Social Sciences

Chapter 8 - Laboratory Experiments in Sociology

Morris Zelditch, Jr.

Chapter 9 - Experiments on Exchange Relations and Exchange Networks in Sociology

Linda D. Molm

Chapter 10 - Social Dilemma Experiments in Sociology, Psychology, Political Science and Economics

Jane Sell and Bruce Reese

Chapter 11 - Hypotheses, Operationalizations, and Manipulation Checks

Martha Foschi

Chapter 12 - The Standardized Experimental Situation in Expectation State Research: Notes on History, Uses, and Special Features

Joseph Berger

Chapter 13 - Experimental Political Science

Rose McDermott

Chapter 14 - Voting and Agenda Setting in Political Science and Economics

Rick K. Wilson

Chapter 15 - Economic Games for Social Scientists

Catherine Eckel

Chapter 16 - Solving Coordination Problems, Experimentally

Giovanna Devetag and Andreas Ortmann

Chapter 17 - Experimental Studies of Media Stereotyping Effects

Srividya Ramasubramanian and Chantrey J. Murphy

Chapter 18 - Judgment and Decision-Making

Michael K. Lindell

Chapter 19 - Experiments in Organizational Behavior

Stefan Thau, Marko Pitesa, and Madan Pillutla

Part III - Applied Research and Proposals

Chapter 20 - Conducting Applied Experimental Research

James E. Driskell, Jennifer King, and Tripp Driskell

Chapter 21 - Funding Experiments, Writing Proposals

Murray Webster, Jr.

Quotes and reviews

"...the strongest part of this book were the chapters on methodology and on experimental implementation. The methodological discussions and concepts were excellent...and the advice for implementation covered quite a lot of ground."
--Rachol Croson, University of Texas at Dallas in Journal of Economic Psychology, 2008

"...this is a long-awaited volume, which will serve many social scientists well into the future as a guide to experimentation in a very pragmatic sense."
-Contemporary Sociology, 37,6
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