The method of field experiments has increased considerably in importance as researchers and firms have learned to think creatively about how to generate data in ways that are more scientific and developments in information technology have facilitated the development of better data gathering. Key to this area of inquiry is the insight that correlation does not necessarily imply causality. In this course, we learn how to use experiments to establish causal effects, and how to be appropriately
skeptical of findings from observational data.
Our goals for each student in the course are:
- Become skeptical about claims of causality. When faced with a piece of research on observational data, you should be able to tell stories that illustrate possible flaws in the conclusions.
- Understand why experimentation (generating one’s own data by doing deliberate interventions) solves the basic causal-inference problem.
- Understand how to quantify uncertainty, using confidence intervals and basic non-parametric tests.
- Learn about the state of the art research on field experiments in organizations.
- Design, implement and analyze your own field experiment.