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Failing in the FieldWhat We Can Learn When Field Research Goes Wrong$
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Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183138

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183138.001.0001

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Low Participation Rates

Low Participation Rates

(p.62) Chapter 5 Low Participation Rates
Failing in the Field

Dean Karlan

Jacob Appel

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on low participation rates. Low participation rates squeeze the effective sample size for a test, making it more difficult, statistically, to identify a positive treatment effect. There are two moments in which low participation rates can materialize: during the intake process to a study or intervention, or after random assignment to treatment or control. Low participation during the intake process often occurs when marketing a program to the general public. Researchers working in the field with partner organizations often face inflexible constraints in trying to cope with low participation during intake. The second type of low participation—that which occurs after subjects have been randomly assigned to treatment or control—is a more daunting problem and is less likely solvable than low participation at the intake phase.

Keywords:   low participation rates, treatment, intervention, field study, researchers, partner organizations, low participation, intake process

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