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PhD course: Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences

PhD students in the social sciences have the opportunity to attend this course, led by Professor Eric Bettinger from Stanford University. One of the world’s foremost experts on RCTs, professor Bettinger is also known as an outstanding lecturer.

Students working together This course gives PhD students in the social sciences the tools required to plan and conduct randomized experiments.

The use of randomized experiments has become increasingly popular and prevalent in social science research. The US Department of Education has labeled randomized experiments as the “gold standard” in educational research, and the World Bank often requires developing countries to use randomization in determining the assignment and use of new policy.

The methodology of randomization

The University of Stavanger Business School now offers the course Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences to PhD students in the social sciences

Professor Eric Bettinger from Stanford University is the course instructor, in collaboration with professors Oddny Solheim, Sigrun Ertesvåg and Mari Rege from UiS.

The course aims to provide future researchers with the tools required to plan and conduct randomized experiments.

It focuses on the methodology of randomization in social science research, discusses the practical aspects of running a randomized controlled trial, and introduces mixed method designs for investigating why or why not an intervention is effective.

The course provides answers to questions such as: Why is randomization so compelling? What assumptions are inherent in randomized designs? What are the hidden challenges to randomization? Is randomization always the “best” empirical strategy? How does one design randomized experiments? Is clustering a problem to randomization?

World leading expert on RCTs

One of the foremost experts on conducting RCTs in the social sciences, Dr. Bettinger has been recognized multiple times for outstanding teaching. At Stanford University, he teaches courses on the creation, maintenance, evaluation, and ethics of randomized experiments in the social sciences. He has conducted over 50 randomized experiments in the field, and his experiments, including important experiments on higher education finance, mentorship, and educational vouchers, have been cited by policymakers throughout the world.

Read more about Dr. Bettinger.

Practical information

Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences is a one-week course (September 16-20 2019) of intensive lectures, PC-lab exercise and seminars. The course is open to interested PhD candidates at the University of Stavanger and other universities. Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program and must have master level knowledge of quantitative methods.

Click here for the complete course description, practical information and reading list

Professor Eric Bettinger

Professor Eric Bettinger, Stanford University, is one of the world's leading experts on RCTs in the social sciences.