The Mob Lab: A national infrastructure for lab-in-the-field social science research

Summary

Excellent social science research requires studies that are both internally and externally valid. Currently, there are many obstacles to achieve this. Lab studies often produce high internal validity, but primarily rely on student samples (external validity issue) and are conducted in clinical settings (ecological validity issue). To address this researchers move their lab to the field (e.g., schools, sporting events, museums or festivals). But researchers face high transaction costs with these so-called lab-in-the-field studies: there are many practical issues to consider and some of these even threaten the internal validity of the study. We offer a simple and innovative solution by creating a mobile social science lab – The Mob Lab. This facility enables researchers to easily set-up a lab across the country on specific locations. We will invest in mobile electroencephalography (EEG), eye-tracking and psychophysiology equipment as well as mobile cameras for in-depth interviews and behavioural observations. This will enable Dutch social scientists to test their theories on high-quality samples.

The Mob Lab will be embedded within the lab of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (UvA). The team of applicants reflect different research schools of the UvA faculty. The multidisciplinary team guarantees that projects will be embedded within the faculty and connected to other Dutch universities. The Mob Lab will become a national facility, accessible to researchers at all Dutch universities. An additional boon of the project is that a mobile lab is highly visible. This offers plenty valorization opportunities in the form of media attention and opportunities for citizens to engage with science.

Details

Project number

480-18-001

Main applicant

Dr. B.N. Bakker

Affiliated with

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

Duration

27/05/2018 to 31/08/2020