Handbook of Research Methods in Public Administration, Management and Policy
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Handbook of Research Methods in Public Administration, Management and Policy

Edited by Eran Vigoda-Gadot and Dana R. Vashdi

This Handbook comprehensively explores research methods in public administration, management and policy. Exploring the richness of both traditional and contemporary methods and strategies for making progress in the field, it provides an advanced toolkit for understanding the science of public administration and management in the 21st century.
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Chapter 13: Experimental methods A: survey experiments in public administration

B. Guy Peters and João V. Guedes-Neto


This chapter provide a detailed account of the use of survey experiments in the study of public administration. It begins by reviewing the most common applications of this method, that is, framing, vignette, conjoint, and list designs. Here, the reader is offered with the theoretical framework of each of these experimental methods, as well as tips for their use. The chapter suggests illustrating with the demonstration of a list and a vignette experiment conducted with bureaucrats from two Brazilian municipalities. This application includes step-by-step explanations, going from obtaining pre-study approval from institutional bodies to analyzing the collected data. The authors proceed by discussing the state of the literature in regard to experimentation. The also propose which streams of research could benefit the most and the implications for the study of public administration. In the conclusion, the chapter highlight some caveats: Survey experiments are certainly not a panacea but help us better understand the behavior of civil servants and the public they serve.

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