Design of Effective Behavioral Interventions (PHD403)
The goal of this course is to provide you with the knowledge and experience necessary to competently design and experimentally evaluate new behavioral interventions in an academic setting or as a working professional in a social entrepreneurship venture, traditional for-profit firm, government agency, or NGOs.
Course description for study year 2022-2023. Please note that changes may occur.
Behavioral science (e.g. "nudge" and "wise interventions") has in recent years produced a number of new approaches to changing consequential behaviors without the use of mandates or changes in financial incentives, and as a result it has gained influence in academic and policy circles. The goal of this course is to provide you with the knowledge and experience necessary to competently design and experimentally evaluate new behavioral interventions in an academic setting or as a working professional in a social entrepreneurship venture, traditional for-profit firm, government agency, or NGO. This course is also appropriate for students enrolled in a PhD program who plan to work in a more traditional policymaking or management role and want to have a solid grounding in relevant behavioral principles. This course is intended to prepare you to actually design your own interventions to influence the behaviors you care about in areas you are interested in, in the context of your academic research. This course is appropriate for students with interests in a wide range of social, policy, or business goals.
- Students will learn the theories that serve as a foundation for effective behavioral interventions
- Students will know the design principles for creating effective interventions
Students will be able to
- conduct a theoretical analysis of a problem and select a target of an intervention
- design a novel intervention
- identify and craft language that makes the difference between an intervention that works and an intervention that does not
- critically evaluate intervention studies in the literature
- provide feedback to colleagues that help their interventions be more effective
- Students should become better producers, evaluators and users of research, and be helped
to advance one step further in a sound scientific career.
Required prerequisite knowledge
Participants have to be enrolled in a PhD program.
Presentation and assignment
Form of assessment
Passed / Not Passed
Passed / Not Passed
Assignment: Complete draft of intervention copy (all materials and protocols), summary of individual contribution and theoretical justification. Presentation: Final project pitch: recorded group presentation
In-class presentations, Active participation in discussions, Final project requirement
The course will consist of five days of intensive lectures, group discussions, hands-on working sessions, and student group presentations (short pitches of project ideas). The lectures introduce students to foundational concepts that will enhance and clarify the key lessons they are meant to take away from the readings. During the discussions, Professor Yeager will answer student questions about the assigned readings (and recorded researcher talks, if applicable), and students will be asked to address key conceptual puzzles arising from the readings. Hands-on working sessions will give students practice in crafting copy that will maximize intervention effectiveness. In the student presentations, the students will pitch their intervention idea and will be provided with feedback. All students will be expected to provide useful feedback to every other student’s pitches, to build a learning community that can improve all students’ work.
Students are expected to prepare for and review lecture materials on their own, and meet in groups.
The course is open to interested PhD candidates at the University of Stavanger and other universities. Single Course Admission to PhD-Courses.