Chapter 9: Experiments in the sociology of education: causal inference and estimating causal effects in sociological research on education
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We critically examine how experimental designs are used to address causal questions in the sociology of education. Starting with some general thoughts about causality, causal inference and the underlying counterfactual approach, we review different applications of experimental testing in the lab and field as well as survey and natural experiments throughout sociological and economic research on education. In the discussion of these applications, we highlight both the advantages and the limits of experiments in giving causal explanations of social phenomena, stressing the need to integrate the empirical framework within a coherent theoretical background that links cause and effect.

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