Skip to main content

The Growth and Development of Experimental Research in Political Science


Although political scientists have long expressed skepticism about the prospects for experimental science, an analysis of the first hundred volumes of the American Political Science Review reveals that randomized experiments have grown in impact and prominence. We document how thinking about experimentation has evolved over the century, and demonstrate the growing influence of laboratory, survey, and field experiments. A number of experiments have transformed how political scientists think about causal relationships in specific substantive areas. There are limits to the kinds of questions that experiments can address, but experiments have made important contributions in an array of political science subfields.

Corresponding author
James N. Druckman is an Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University, Scott Hall, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 (
Donald P. Green is A. Whitney Griswold Professor, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520.
James H. Kuklinski is Matthew T. McClure Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801.
Arthur Lupia is Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
Hide All
Ansolabehere Stephen, Shanto Iyengar, Adam Simon, and Nicholas Valentino. 1994. “Does Attack Advertising Demobilize the Electorate?American Political Science Review 88 (December): 82938.
Bartels Larry M. 1993. “Messages Received.” American Political Science Review 87 (June): 26785.
Bergan Daniel E. 2006. “Does E-Activism Work?” Unpublished manuscript, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University.
Campbell Donald T. 1969. “Reforms as Experiments.” American Psychologist 24 (4): 40929.
Clarke Harold D., Allan Kornberg, Chris McIntyre, Petra Bauer-Kaase, and Max Kaase. 1999. “The Effect of Economic Priorities on the Measurement of Value Change.” American Political Science Review 93 (September): 63747.
Cook Thomas D., and Donald T. Campbell. 1979. Quasi-Experimentation: Design and Analysis Issues for Field Settings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cover Albert D., and Bruce S. Brumberg. 1982. “Baby Books and Ballots.” American Political Science Review 76 (June): 34759.
Druckman James N. 2004. “Political Preference Formation.” American Political Science Review 98 (November): 67186.
Druckman James N., and Arthur Lupia. 2006. “Mind, Will, and Choice.” In Charles Tilly and Robert E. Goodin, (eds.). The Oxford Handbook on Contextual Political Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Druckman James N., and Joanne M. Miller. 2004. “The Political Psychology of Electoral Campaigns.” Political Psychology 25 (4): 501506.
Eldersveld Samuel J. 1956. “Experimental Propaganda Techniques and Voting Behavior.” American Political Science Review 50 (March): 15465.
Fiorina Morris P., and Charles R. Plott. 1978. “Committee Decisions under Majority Rule.” American Political Science Review 72 (June): 57598.
Fisher Ronald. 1935. Design of Experiments. New York: Hafner Publishin.
Fréchette Guillaume, John H. Kagel, and Steven F. Lehrer. 2003. “Bargaining in Legislatures.” American Political Science Review 97 (June): 22132.
Gerber Alan S., and Donald P. Green. 2000. “The Effects of Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout.” American Political Science Review 94 (September): 65363.
Gerber Alan S., and Donald P. Green. 2005. “Correction to Gerber and Green (2000), Replication of Disputed Findings, and Reply to Imai (2005).” American Political Science Review 99 (June): 301313.
Gerber Alan S., Donald P. Green, and Ron Shachar. 2003. “Voting May be Habit Forming.” American Journal of Political Science 47 (July): 54050.
Gilens Martin. 1996. “‘Race Coding’ and White Opposition to Welfare.” American Political Science Review 90 (September): 593604.
Green Donald P. 1992. “The Price Elasticity of Mass Preferences.” American Political Science Review 86 (March): 12848.
Guetzkow Harold, and Joseph J. Valadez, eds. 1981. Simulated International Processes. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Hermann Charles F., and Margaret G. Hermann. 1967. “An Attempt to Simulate the Outbreak of World War I.” American Political Science Review 61 (June): 40016.
Inglehart Ronald. 1971. “The Silent Revolution in Europe.” American Political Science Review 65 (December): 9911017.
Inglehart Ronald. 1977. The Silent Revolution: Changing. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Inglehart Ronald. 1990. Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Iyengar Shanto, Mark D. Peters, and Donald R. Kinder. 1982. “Experimental Demonstrations of the ‘Not-So-Minimal’ Consequences of Television News Programs. American Political Science Review 76 (December): 84858.
Lasswell Harold D. 1951. “The Immediate Future of Research Policy and Method in Political Science.” American Political Science Review 45 (March): 13342.
Lau Richard R., and David P. Redlawsk. 1997. “Voting Correctly.” American Political Science Review 91 (September): 58598.
Lodge Milton, Kathleen M. McGraw, and Patrick Stroh. 1989. “An Impression-driven Model of Candidate Evaluation.” American Political Science Review 83 (June): 399419.
Lodge Milton, Marco R. Steenbergen, and Shawn Brau. 1995. “The Responsive Voter.” American Political Science Review 89 (June): 30926.
Lowell A. Lawrence. 1910. “The Physiology of Politics.” American Political Science Review 4 (February): 115.
Mahoney Robert, and Daniel Druckman. 1975. “Simulation, Experimentation, and Context.” Simulation & Games 6 (September): 23570.
McDermott Rose. 2002. “Experimental Methods in Political Science.” Annual Review of Political Science 5: 3161.
McGraw Kathleen M., and Valerie Hoekstra. 1994. “Experimentation in Political Science.” Research in Micropolitics 3: 329.
Morton Rebecca B. 1993. “Incomplete Information and Ideological Explanations of Platform Divergence.” American Political Science Review 87 (June): 38292.
Morton Rebecca B., and Kenneth C. Williams. 2006. “Experimentation in Political Science.” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology, ed. Janet Box-Steffensmeier, David Collier, and Henry Brady. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mutz Diana C. 2002. “Cross-Cutting Social Networks.” American Political Science Review 96 (March): 11126.
Nelson Thomas E., Rosalee A. Clawson, and Zoe M. Oxley. 1997. “Media Framing of a Civil Liberties Conflict and Its Effect on Tolerance.” American Political Science Review 91 (September): 56783.
Nickerson David W. 2006. “Measuring Interpersonal Influence.” Doctoral thesis, Department of Political Science, Yale University.
Ostrom Elinor, James Walker, and Roy Gardner. 1992. “Covenants with and Without a Sword.” American Political Science Review 86 (June): 40417.
Quattrone George A., and Amos Tversky. 1988. “Contrasting Rational and Psychological Analyses of Political Choice.” American Political Science Review 82 (September): 71936.
Roth Alvin E. 1995. “Introduction to Experimental Economics.” In The Handbook of Experimental Economics, ed. John H. Kagel and Alvin E. Roth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Sniderman Paul M. 1995. “Evaluation Standards for a Slow-Moving Science.” PS: Political Science and Politics 28 (September): 46467.
Sniderman Paul M., Richard A. Brody, and Philip E. Tetlock. 1991. Reasoning and Choice: Explorations in Political Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sniderman Paul M., and Douglas B. Grob. 1996. “Innovations in Experimental Design in Attitude Surveys.” Annual Review of Sociology 22: 37799.
Sniderman Paul M., Look Hagendoorn, and Markus Prior. 2004. “Predispositional Factors and Situational Triggers.” American Political Science Review 98 (February): 3550.
Tetlock Philip E., and Richard Ned Lebow. 2001. “Pocking Counterfactual Holes in Covering Laws.” American Political Science Review 95 (December): 82943.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed