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Design Decisions in Behavioral Experiments: A Review of Information Systems Research

Event: Proceedings of the 42th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2021), 12.12.2021



Behavioral experiments are a highly suitable method for testing theories, as they can establish causality while controlling for other confounding factors. However, researchers that aim to conduct and publish such studies face various concerns about the methodological approach. A lack of clarity exists in our field as to which related practices and design decisions are legitimate and accepted. To address this issue, we present a structured literature review that analyzes the designs of 168 behavioral experiments published in the Senior Scholars’ Basket of journals. We find that most experiments are confirmatory, individual-level, between-subjects laboratory experiments. At the same time, we find that some under-represented experiment designs, such as exploratory online experiments, may bear potential for identifying new behaviors and constructing new or proper-to-IS theories. This paper contains an in-depth discussion on the findings and provides decision support to IS researchers that seek to design and publish behavioral experiments.

Marcel Cahenzli, Stephan Aier, Kazem Haki

12 Dec 2021