© 2018

Audit Studies: Behind the Scenes with Theory, Method, and Nuance

  • S. Michael Gaddis

Part of the Methodos Series book series (METH, volume 14)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. The Theory Behind and History of Audit Studies

  3. The Method of Audit Studies: Design, Implementation, and Analysis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 79-79
    2. Joanna Lahey, Ryan Beasley
      Pages 81-101
    3. Charles Crabtree
      Pages 103-117
  4. Nuance in Audit Studies: Context, Mechanisms, and the Future

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 141-141
    2. Max Besbris, Jacob William Faber, Peter Rich, Patrick Sharkey
      Pages 159-177
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 197-198

About this book


This book offers practical instruction on the use of audit studies in the social sciences. It features essays from sociologists, economists, and other experts who have employed this powerful and flexible tool. Readers will learn how to implement an audit study to examine a variety of questions in their own research. The essays first discuss situations where audit studies are the most effective. These tools allow researchers to make strong causal claims and explore questions that are often difficult to answer with observational data. Audit studies also stand as the single best way to conduct research on discrimination. The authors highlight what these studies have uncovered about labor market processes in the past decade. The next section gives some guidance on how to design an audit study. The essays cover the difficult task of getting a study through an institutional review board, the technical setup of matching procedures, and statistical power and analysis techniques.

The last part focuses on more advanced aspects. Coverage includes understanding context, what variables may signal, and the use of technology. The book concludes with a discussion of challenges and limitations with an eye towards the future of audit studies.

This book brings together a number of interesting and useful perspectives on these field experiments.  Many different kinds of readers will find it valuable, ranging from those interested in getting an overview of the evidence, to researchers looking for guidance on the nuts and bolts of conducting these complex experiments.”

David Neumark, Chancellor’s Professor of Economics at the University of California – Irvine

This volume provides the first deep examination of the audit method, with details on the practical, political, analytical, and theoretical considerations of this research. Social scientists interested in consuming or contributing to this literature will find this volume immensely useful.”

Devah Pager, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Harvard University


Audit studies Field experiments Research methods Research ethics Discrimination

Editors and affiliations

  • S. Michael Gaddis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California – Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

About the editors

S. Michael Gaddis is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA.  His work explores the causes and consequences of racial and educational inequality, often through experiments.  He has led the data collection efforts on nearly a dozen field and survey experiments.  His research has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and Sociological Science, among other outlets.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Audit Studies: Behind the Scenes with Theory, Method, and Nuance
  • Editors S. Michael Gaddis
  • Series Title Methodos Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title Methodos Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-71152-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-10020-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-71153-9
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VII, 198
  • Number of Illustrations 8 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Methodology of the Social Sciences
    Sociology, general
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