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Population-Based Survey Experiments
Diana C. Mutz

Paperback | 2011 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691144528
200 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 5 tables.
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Population-based survey experiments have become an invaluable tool for social scientists struggling to generalize laboratory-based results, and for survey researchers besieged by uncertainties about causality. Thanks to technological advances in recent years, experiments can now be administered to random samples of the population to which a theory applies. Yet until now, there was no self-contained resource for social scientists seeking a concise and accessible overview of this methodology, its strengths and weaknesses, and the unique challenges it poses for implementation and analysis.

Drawing on examples from across the social sciences, this book covers everything you need to know to plan, implement, and analyze the results of population-based survey experiments. But it is more than just a "how to" manual. This lively book challenges conventional wisdom about internal and external validity, showing why strong causal claims need not come at the expense of external validity, and how it is now possible to execute experiments remotely using large-scale population samples.

Designed for social scientists across the disciplines, Population-Based Survey Experiments provides the first complete introduction to this methodology.

  • Offers the most comprehensive treatment of the subject
  • Features a wealth of examples and practical advice
  • Reexamines issues of internal and external validity
  • Can be used in conjunction with downloadable data from for design and analysis exercises in the classroom


"[T]his is a well-written and enjoyable book that fills a clear need in the literature. It will make an excellent addition to any course on research design and will serve as a useful reference for anyone interested in this methodology. Quite frankly, given the strong case Mutz makes for population-based survey experiments, it is hard to imagine why any social scientist would not be interested in using this method."--Eric W. Groenendyk, Public Opinion Quarterly


"Diana Mutz has written a marvelous introduction to population-based survey experiments. The book provides a masterful--and, witty!--consideration of the issues that differentiate these experiments from lab experiments, with all sorts of good pragmatic advice. She describes so many examples that I cannot imagine anyone reading it and not having at least one idea for a new experiment they might conduct themselves."--Jeremy Freese, Northwestern University

"A lucid discussion filled with accessible and wide-ranging examples. For political scientists, sociologists, and those in other allied fields, this book offers invaluable lessons from the cutting edge of social science."--Devah Pager, Princeton University

"With great clarity and insight--and dozens of fascinating examples--Mutz makes a compelling case for combining the strengths of large-scale surveys and tightly controlled experimental methods in tackling many of the most pressing issues in the social sciences. Students and professionals alike will find a wealth of practical advice in these pages about how and why to conduct population-based survey experiments."--Galen V. Bodenhausen, Northwestern University

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Table of Contents:

List of Tables ix
Preface xi
Chapter One: Population-Based Survey Experiments
A Hybrid Methodology for the Social Sciences 1

Chapter Two: Treatments to Improve Measurement 25
Chapter Three: Direct and Indirect Treatments 37
Chapter Four: Vignette Treatments 54
Chapter Five: Treatments in the Context of Games 68

Chapter Six: Execution of Population-Based Survey Experiments 83
Chapter Seven: Analysis of Population-Based Survey Experiments 108

Chapter Eight: External Validity Reconsidered 131
Chapter Nine: More Than Just Another Method 155
Bibliography 161
Index 173

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