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QS306 - Experiments in the Social Sciences and Humanities

  • Module code: QS306
  • Module name: Experiments in the Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Department: Sociology
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

Is the gender wage gap caused by discrimination? What explains differences in voter turnout? Which form of education and development aid is effective? What affects the movement of visitors in an art gallery? Experiments are the “gold standard” for uncovering causal effect and they were rediscovered in social science research and the humanities in the last decades. The results of experimental research give valuable insights for theory testing and programme evaluation. This course will develop students’ understanding of experimental method as well as why experiments can help to solve a wide range of research puzzles and social problems. The course will provide students with the skills to conduct and critically reflect on experimental research in the social sciences and humanities.

Principal learning outcomes

The principal learning aims of this course are: (1) to familiarise students with different types of experiments; (2) to raise students’ awareness of the advantages, pitfalls, and problems of experimental methods used in social science and humanities research; (3) to equip students with the skills to understand and undertake experimental research.

Timetabled teaching activities

Nine weeks of teaching. Five weeks will be a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar, three weeks a two-hour seminar and two weeks fieldwork with supervision by the lecturer. Term 2.

Departmental link

Other essential notes

This module is being offered by the Q-Step Centre, which hosts a range of quantitative methods modules for the Social Sciences and the wider University.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: QS306-15)
A (Assessed work only) Group Presentation 30%
  2000 word essay 70%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Quantitative Methods (M162) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Quantitative Methods (with Intercalated Year) (M167) - Year 4