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040231; Thursday: 10:00am - 12:00pm (J253)


All students interested in this class should attend the kick-off meeting on Thursday, the 12th of October (at 10.15 am in room J253). 

This class can be attended by PhD students and by Master students. 

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Date File Comment

Course Information

Semester: Winter Term 2017/2018
Term: entire semester
Course Number: 040231
Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Thomas Langer
Contact Persons:
Room: J253
Dates: Thursday: 10:00am - 12:00pm, J253
Language: English
Credits: 6
Semester hours: 2
Module(s): Doktorandenseminare - Doktorandenstudium

Description / Main Topics
The class introduces PhD students to the use of experiments as research method.

Main course objectives: In this class students learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental research method and become able to

  1. identify research questions (in their field of study) for which the use of the experimental approach seems particularly promising,
  2. design and run their own experiments to tackle these research questions,
  3. evaluate the quality of other researcher’s experimental work. 

There are many conceptual and practical issues behind these three main objectives:

  • Understand the interplay of experimental research with other research methods.
  • Get acquainted with software that can be used to set up simple experimental studies.
  • Understand the relevance of (well chosen) incentives, detailed instructions, selection of subjects, and many other design issues.
  • Learn about the criticism you might face when doing experimental work and understand how to counter the standard criticism through well-reasoned arguments and clever design choices.
  • Know about “cultural” differences in doing experimental research (e.g. Psych vs Econ).
  • Understand the ethical dimension of “generating your own data”.

Learning Outcomes

Course Assessment
For PhD students: there are no grades assigned in this class. To receive the credit points students have to attend the lecture on a regular basis, have to be well prepared for the in-class discussions (-> upfront reading assignments), and have to turn in the three home projects in acceptable quality (partly group work): 1. Discussion of an experimental paper, 2. Sketch of the design of own experimental study, 3. Experimental software programmed with z-tree.

For Master students: this class can be chosen for the research minor.
The class grade is determined by the following scheme:
25% software project
25% literature project
50% experimental proposal project



Reading Material

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