Design experiments: engaging policy makers in the search for evidence about what works

Stoker, Gerry and John, Peter (2009) Design experiments: engaging policy makers in the search for evidence about what works. Political Studies, 57, (2), 356-373. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.2008.00756.x).


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This article presents an argument for the greater use of design experiments, which can assist policy making because they provide both robust and timely evidence. We discuss their origins in education research, set out the methodology and propose some adaptations to the techniques used in these education studies to foster their application to a range of policy fields and problem areas. Design experiments need to meet two challenges. Can they provide valid evidence? Can they provide evidence that will be used by policy makers? Our argument shows how design experiments are robust when set against the classical canons of scientific study. We further claim that the design experiment approach offers a more viable means to developing evidence-based policy making than other forms of evaluation because of the timeliness of the insights that it provides.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.2008.00756.x
ISSNs: 0032-3217 (print)
1467-9248 (electronic)
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Politics and International Relations
ePrint ID: 80268
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
June 2009Published
8 October 2008Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:16

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