IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Testing Theories of Attitude Change with Online Panel Field Experiments


  • Broockman, David E.

    (Stanford University)

  • Kalla, Joshua L.

    (University of CA, Berkeley)

  • Sekhon, Jasjeet S.

    (University of CA, Berkeley)


Social scientists increasingly wish to use field experiments to test theories. However, common experimental designs for studying the effects of treatments delivered in the field on individuals' attitudes are infeasible for most researchers and vulnerable to bias. We detail an alternative field experiment design exploiting a placebo control and multiple waves of panel surveys delivered online with multiple measures of outcomes. This design can make persuasion field experiments feasible by decreasing costs (often by nearly two orders of magnitude), allows experiments to test additional theories, and facilitates the evaluation of design assumptions. We then report an original application study, a field experiment implementing the design to evaluate a persuasive canvass targeting abortion attitudes. This study estimated a precise zero, suggesting the design can successfully evade social desirability bias. We conclude by discussing potential limitations and extensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Broockman, David E. & Kalla, Joshua L. & Sekhon, Jasjeet S., 2016. "Testing Theories of Attitude Change with Online Panel Field Experiments," Research Papers 3402, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:3402

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:3402. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.