Lessons from a field experiment involving involuntary subjects 3,000 miles away
Describe the challenges involved in conducting field experiments that entail a long distance between the research team and the research site.
A summary of the lessons learned from the field experiment of Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE).
Pre-trial planning is especially important when the research team is a long distance from the research site. A good communication strategy helps educate practitioners on the merits of conservative design choices, such as intent-to-treat, and helps to signal the importance of the study and therefore of maintaining the condition assignments and delivering the intervention with fidelity.
Distance creates additional challenges for the research team. These challenges make it even more essential to exploit assets at the research site. Distance creates more uncertainty, which makes pre-planning even more important, but it is expensive. Criminal-justice funding agencies’ support for exploratory studies as precursors to full-blown trials would improve the quality of experimental criminal-justice research.
KeywordsCONSORT Field experiment Randomized controlled trial Involuntary subjects
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