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Experimental Resources in Warwick

Relevant Groups

Within Economics, experimental and behavioural research is represented by the Experimental and Behavioural Research Group (EBERG). The coordinator is Daniel Sgroi and the deputy coordinator Kirill Pogorelskiy. If you wish to join the group email Daniel or Kirill: you will need to specify whether you would like to be a full member or associate member. You can be a full member of only one group so this is a signal of your main area of research.

Warwick Business School (WBS) has a similar group called the Behavioural Science Group (BSG). There are also behavioural and experimental psychologists based in the Psychology Department which is linked to the BSG at Warwick Business School.

DR@W is the overarching interdisciplinary group of all behavioural scientists in Warwick which takes members from WBS, Psychology or Economics. New faculty members who do experimental work should register with DR@W by emailing John Taylor, the WBS lab manager: there is a very short induction involved but doing so provides several benefits including the ability to use the ethical umbrella, the university subject recruitment system and the various labs in the university (more information on these is provided below).

Bridges is an interdisciplinary centre that includes behavioural and experimental work in its remit and also funds PhD students. The Director of Bridges is Thomas Hills who is based in Psychology. Within Economics the key contacts are Alessandro Castagnetti and Shi Zhuo.

Theme 3 of the ESRC CAGE centre, administered within the Economics Department, covers subjective wellbeing and behavioural topics. Currently the theme is administered by two Theme leaders, Daniel Sgroi and Andrew Oswald. From January 2020, Daniel Sgroi will be Theme Leader and Chris Roth will be Deputy Theme Leader.

Finally, Behaviour, Brain and Society is one of the University of Warwick’s global research priorities (GRPs) and Daniel Sgroi is one of the three academic leads. The idea behind this group is to coordinate interdisciplinary activity at the university level. For example, the DR@W group is under the GRP's remit.

Seminars

Normally DR@W has a weekly meeting seminar series called the DR@W Forum in the Wolfson Exchange in the Library from 1430-1550 (with refreshments from 1415) and doubles as the Experimental Group’s official weekly seminar. For this reason, PhD students who are primarily attached to the Experimental Group (as full members) are expected to attend. The DR@W Forum is organised by John Taylor. Bridges also arranges seminars and workshops. Both of these are included in the Experimental Group events page. There also seminars within the Economics department that include experimental or behavioural work as well as CAGE-organised workshops that will be relevant.

At the moment (given the COVID19 situation) seminars are still going ahead but they will be made available using Microsoft Teams.

The group's events page has all the details of the upcoming seminars.

Labs, software and recruitment

For researchers interested in lab experiments, the Economics Department has a small lab (taking up to 20 subjects) and a part-time lab manager (Mahnaz Mazneen). WBS and Psychology also have labs: the lab at WBS is the largest in the university (up to 50 people) and is occasionally used by people from the Economics department though this must be approved by John Taylor, the WBS lab manager, and is only possible for faculty who have pre-registered as DR@W researchers. The university has a stock of several thousand registered subjects (drawn mainly from the student body) via the SONA system (T&Cs here) that is administered by DR@W. DR@W induction includes a thorough explanation of how this works and our lab manager can also help.

For researchers interested in surveys, the Economics department has a license to use Qualtrics the leading survey platform which includes support from the software developers. First log into the university and then navigate here. Numerous people in the department work with surveys and several have used the popular online recruitment platform MTurk as well as hiring large survey companies (including Qualtrics themselves) to construct panels and there are also many members of the Economics Department who have worked on field experiments.

Experimental Ethics

Ethical approval is typically required when using human subjects. Within Economics our ethics rep is Alex Dobson. There is a full discussion of how ethical approval can be obtained in Warwick here (provided by Economics) and here (provided by DR@W).

To summarize those pages, anyone registered with DR@W has access to the streamlined DR@W ethical umbrella which requires the completion of a short online form and approval normally takes around 2 days. This covers fairly standard designs that are outlined here. Students have a separate process run at the departmental level, and should in the first instance contact the PG office and/or Alex Dobson (as well as their supervisors). More complex projects that do not fall under the DR@W umbrella may need to go through the full university ethical process that takes longer. This entails making an application to the HSSREC. The application form is here.

Funding for Experiments

Most experiments are funded through research grants: CAGE used to operate a small grant process within the Economics Department but sadly no longer has sufficient funds to do so during the transition period between full centre bids. Personal research funds (for faculty members) can also normally be used (typically approval is required from the Head of Department). The department is currently reviewing how to fund experiments for PhD students and faculty and a new system will be announced soon. It is likely that this will be a pot of money and a competitive application process with applications reviewed by members of the Experimental Group. In practice I hope there will be enough money for most good projects to go ahead, but we will see!

Once funding is obtained Stephanie Caven normally administers payment: for instance, providing floats in advance or hiring RAs to analyse data. It is important to check with her in advance as she has copies of relevant forms and will be able to provide information about things such as lead times required before floats will be delivered and the process of approval required for RAs. Stephanie can also load funds onto an MTurk account.