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Design Experiments: Engaging Policy Makers in the Search for Evidence about What Works


  • Gerry Stoker
  • Peter John


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.

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  • Gerry Stoker & Peter John, 2009. "Design Experiments: Engaging Policy Makers in the Search for Evidence about What Works," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 57(2), pages 356-373, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:polstu:v:57:y:2009:i:2:p:356-373
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2008.00756.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Broström, Anders & McKelvey, Maureen, 2016. "Knowledge transfer at the science-policy interface: How cognitive distance and the degree of expert autonomy shapes the outcome," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 441, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.

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