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A field experiment is a randomized, controlled outcome study conducted to identify effects caused by or attributable to an intervention. It is an experiment conducted under realistic operating conditions; that is, with consumers characteristic of those targeted and within the situation in which the evaluand is expected to function. The goal is to produce conclusions that are scientifically valid and relevant to the concerns of decision makers. The challenge is to find the appropriate balance between scientific rigor and decision utility, given the circumstances in which the trial is to take place. A field experiment may be contrasted with a quasiexperiment that has similar intent and application but is not randomized.

M. F. Smith
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