The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 5th, 2015
Before it fell apart, Michael J. LaCour’s study of political
canvassing tactics was timely not just for what he supposedly
discovered, but for how he discovered it.
In order to figure out whether gay-marriage advocates could actually
change people’s minds about the issue by having brief conversations on
their doorsteps, Mr. LaCour, a University of California at Los Angeles
graduate student, designed an experiment.
Gay and straight canvassers would knock on doors and follow scripts.
There would be before-and-after surveys, randomized assignments,
controls, and other accouterments of rigorous experimental trials.