Field Experimental Designs for the Study of Media Effects


Donald P. Green, Brian R. Calfano & Peter M. Aronow

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Green, Donald P., Brian R. Calfano & Peter M. Aronow (2014) Field Experimental Designs for the Study of Media Effects. Political Communication 31(1): 168-180. DOI: 10.1080/10584609.2013.828142
Field experimentation is a promising but seldom used method for studying the effects of media messages on political attitudes and behavior. The practical challenges of conducting media experiments in real-world settings often come down to securing cooperation from research partners, such as political campaigns. To do so, researchers must be prepared to adapt their experimental designs to satisfy the constraints imposed by research partners and the media environment in which they operate. This article provides an overview of some alternative field experimental designs that allow researchers to maintain the advantages of random assignment while addressing practical considerations. Examples are drawn from the growing field experimental literature examining the effects of television, radio, and online communication.
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