Randomized experimental design yields the most accurate analysis of the effect of an intervention (e.g., a voter mobilization phone drive or a visit from a GOTV canvasser, on voter behavior).
By randomly assigning subjects to be in the group that receives the treatment or to be in the control group, researchers can measure the effect of the mobilization method regardless of other factors that may make some people or groups more likely to participate in the political process.
Randomization is generally achieved by employing a computer program containing a random number generator.
Randomization procedures differ based upon the research design of the experiment.
The use of randomized experimental design should allow a degree of certainty that the research findings cited in studies that employ this methodology reflect the effects of the interventions being measured and not some other underlying variable or variables.
Random assignment is the process of randomly assigning participants into treatment and control groups for the purposes of an experiment.
This sample will then be randomly divided into treatment and control groups.
Perhaps 40% of the sample will be on a campaign’s Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) mailing list and the other 60% of the sample will not receive the GOTV mailings.
Random assignment controls for both known and unknown variables that can creep in with other selection processes to confound analyses.
Randomized experimental design is a powerful tool for drawing valid inferences about cause and effect.