On September 17th 2015, several scholars interested or currently working on experiments in the field participated in a workshop organized by the steering committee of the NeFCA Political Communication Division. Each of the papers discussed in a 45 minute slot used a very different experimental approach illustrating the variety of the method.

While in one study a real-world experiment sending politicians requests from citizens had been used (Marie-Hélène Scholtbritgen/ULB), another study aims to explore the relationship between forms of online communication and political engagement in China (Daniela Stockmann/Leiden). Other papers aimed at tackling the effects of emotions evoked by pictures on citizens’ actions and attitudes (Tom Powell/UvA), while Sanne Kruikemeier’s (UvA) study had used eye tracking to capture how the presentation of news on tablet, computer and paper affected learning.

Prof.dr. Shanto Iyengar from Stanford University, one of the most renown scholars in experimentation in the field, acted as discussant on all papers. In a keynote lecture in collaboration with the IPSA Conference on Methods in Political Science, Shanto Iyengar emphasized that ethical considerations will become more and more important in experimental research. Particularly with field experiments, where debriefing of subjects can be challenging yet crucial. In contrast to subjects participating in a survey or in a laboratory, those participants are often not aware they are taking part in a research project.