Abstract and Keywords
This article presents an overview of field experiments and their contribution to the study of political behavior. First, it briefly outlines the history of field experimentation in political science and neighboring disciplines. It then summarizes a series of important and interrelated research literatures, exploring the influences of political campaigns, political communication, and political socialization. The review shows that the advent of field experimentation represents a significant departure from what had been a field dominated by survey and lab research. Furthermore, the ways in which field experimental studies shaped the research in political behavior are addressed. Field experimental studies have brought a new level of precision to the study of campaign communication. The principal argument for observational research is that it enables scholars to study a broad class of causal questions, not just those that are amenable to experimental manipulation.
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