DGPE PhD course: Field Experiments in Child Research and Social Science

2-6 September 2019. Lecturers: Morten Hjortskov, Simon Calmar Andersen, Michael Rosholm

Info about event


Monday 2 September 2019, at 09:00 - Friday 6 September 2019, at 16:00


TrygFonden's Centre for Child Research, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, building 2636, room U213

Course description

Field experiments are becoming a very important tool in the social science researcher’s toolbox. Combining randomization and its advantages over many of our usual designs towards being able to claim causality with the natural contexts in the field holds an opportunity to maximize both internal and external validity. However, as with every other research design, it takes knowledge and skill to be able to design and carry out field experiments. And threats to causal inference still lure in the shadows. Even randomization sometimes must give in to the realities of the field!

TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research at Aarhus University was established in 2013 as an interdisciplinary research center and has since worked with experimental and econometric methods in order to deliver state of the art research on child development, learning and education. One of the stated goals of the center is to disseminate knowledge on how to design, carry out and analyze large-scale field experiments within education – a method that was considered impossible to use in an educational setting only a few years ago.

The present course will take as its starting point the need for careful causal studies in education and social sciences. Policy and decision makers need research and evidence that addresses causal questions, and we as researchers need it to advance science. Examples of bad evidence that has turned in to actual policy is abound.  

> detailed description and programme


Students hand in a written assignment after the course has ended. It will have to contain a motivated research question, an experimental design that is able to answer the research question and an analysis plan. One of the three teachers marks the assignment (failed/passed). The course is equivalent to 5 ECTS points.

Target audience and prerequisites

The course is targeted PhDs in social science programs such as economics, political science, psychology and sociology and related fields. However, any research project that plan to use field experiments involving people in social contexts could benefit from the course. The prerequisites for joining are a basic understanding of statistics like the standard error, t-tests, OLS regression, and logistic regression comparable to a masters degree in political science or psychology.  

Course fee

The course, consisting of 24 lectures, is free of charge for PhD students in Social Sciences from Danish PhD programs. PhD students in Social Sciences from other universities need pay a tuition of 150 euros. The tuition covers refreshments and lunch on all days as well as a workshop dinner on September 5th , 2019. Participants are expected to cover their own transportation and accommodation costs (if needed).


Assistant Professor Morten Hjortskov, TrygFonden's Centre for Child Research, Aarhus BSS

Professor Simon Calmar Andersen, TrygFonden's Centre for Child Research, Aarhus BSS 

Professor Michael Rosholm, TrygFonden's Centre for Child Research, Aarhus BSS



Registration deadline: 12 August 2019.

Academic contact

Morten Hjortskov, mlarsen@ps.au.dk

Administrative contact

Mette Vad Andersen, mvandersen@econ.au.dk