ISPS Field Experiments Initiative
Application for funding
To support efforts of faculty and graduate students conducting field experiments in the social sciences, and for related policy issues. By field experiments we mean fully-randomized research designs in which observations found in a naturalistic setting – voters, patients, welfare recipients, community organizations, government entities, and the like – are assigned to treatment and control conditions (see more here).
ISPS invites proposals for important and well-crafted experiments of this sort. Proposals should be well-designed, innovative, and contribute to theory and/or methods. Projects should have both policy and scholarly relevance.
Proposals may explore policy-relevant issues in any social science discipline. Researchers are strongly encouraged to study phenomena outside the university setting (i.e., the behavior of people other than college undergraduates). Note that medical and biological experiments, such as pharmacological trials, do not meet these criteria. A committee will evaluate each application based on the soundness of the research design and the theoretical significance of the study.
Eligibility and selection criteria:
Applicants must be full-time Yale faculty or doctoral students enrolled in a graduate degree program in the Yale Graduate School or a Yale professional school student. An applicant must be principal investigator or co-principal investigator. Support is available based on merit and scope of proposal.
Projects are limited to studies that allocate subjects randomly to treatment and control groups, and that include collection of original data in the field or exploitation of the field context.
The fund supports projects that, in general, involve measuring the causal effect of naturalistic treatments administered in natural settings to the subjects for whom the causal effect has real-world relevance. These projects are often time sensitive because they are designed to coincide with naturally-occurring events. For example,
- Party Affiliation, Partisanship, and Political Beliefs: A Field Experiment,
- Do Politicians Racially Discriminate Against Constituents? A Field Experiment on State Legislators,
- Is Transparency an Effective Anti-Corruption Strategy? Evidence from a Field Experiment in India,
- Deference, Dissent, and Dispute Resolution: An Experimental Intervention Using Mass Media to Change Norms and Behavior in Rwanda
Lab or survey experiments do not generally meet these standards (although surveys can be one way of collecting original data in the field). Surveys may be a measurement tool, but they are not generally a means for administering an intervention or treatment.
The maximum award is $75,000. Most funded proposals range between $1,500 and $10,000. The award covers research materials, staff costs, and equipment (direct cost only). ISPS will not cover costs associated with faculty salary or institutional overhead. Smaller pilot projects are welcome.
We understand that the timing considerations of some field experiments may not coincide with regular funding cycles, and are therefore accepting applications on a rolling basis. However, for projects that qualify for funding from other Yale institutions, applicants must show evidence of an attempt to share the expense with these other sources. Applicants from the professional schools should show that they have applied and failed to receive support for their project from these sources before they apply to the field experiment fund.
Yale graduate students: Please consult this list of selected sources of research funding at Yale:
- The Leitner Program
- The MacMillan Center
- The Jackson Institute
- Yale Graduate School for Arts & Sciences Funding Opportunities
- Yale Office of Grant & Contract Administration Funding Opportunities
- Student Grants & Fellowships at Yale University
ISPS research funds cannot be used for summer salary or other compensation.
Yale University policy requires that certain types of research projects involving human subjects be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board prior to the start of the study to ensure that the project meets University Policy and any other applicable regulations. To see if your project needs to be reviewed, for advice on working with human subjects, and for more information about the IRB process and requirements, go to Yale University Human Subjects Committee.
Upon receipt of ISPS research funding, ISPS requires the following:
- Contact the ISPS Business Office to set up an account.
- Consult the Business Office before entering into any contract or agreement with vendors or collaborators.
- Adhere to the University’s standard purchasing methods and be in compliance with Federal and State Laws and obtain goods and services through proper University channels, usually through a purchase requisition process in SciQuest.
Please note: Yale faculty and students may not personally sign a contract to be paid with University funds. Contracts for the purchase of goods or services from an outside vendor must be signed by an authorized Yale purchasing agent before the work begins. All other agreements with third parties involving research conducted at Yale (such as a Data Use Agreement, Statement of Work, or a Confidentiality Agreement; see information here and here) must be similarly reviewed and signed by the appropriate authorized Yale agent before the work begins to ensure it is in accordance with ISPS requirements, Yale policies, and federal, state, and local laws.
The grant is designed to cover a 2-year project, with an expectation that at least one publication-quality research report emerge within 3 years.
Upon completion of any project, ISPS requires the following:
- A complete final data set (will be kept in a secure, proprietary data archive)
- A completed meta data file (will be kept in a secure, proprietary data archive)
- Supplementary materials (such as codebook, printed treatment materials, etc.)
- A research report
Specifications and guidelines will be provided upon award regarding these requirements.
Complete applications must include:
- A completed ISPS Request for Research Funding Form (see below)
- Curriculum vita (send as attachment to limor.peer(at)yale.edu)
- Complete budget (sent as an attachment to limor.peer(at)yale.edu)
- A copy of the approved request to the Human Subjects Committee, upon receipt (sent as an attachment to limor.peer(at)yale.edu)
Please fill out the form below to begin the application process:
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