Role of Beliefs on Study Effort
Last registered on January 16, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Role of Beliefs on Study Effort
Initial registration date
March 17, 2017
Last updated
January 16, 2018 10:40 PM EST
Primary Investigator
Stanford University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs

Study effort is one of the most important determinants of student performance. Are students aware of how effort translates into performance? And if they are not, can we inform them about this relationship to change their study behavior and outcomes? Through a framed field experiment, this project aims to answer these questions in the context of an online language-learning platform.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Ersoy, Fulya. 2018. "Role of Beliefs on Study Effort." AEA RCT Registry. January 16.
Experimental Details
Stage 1: Participants in Stage 1 are induced to exert different levels of effort depending on their random group assignment.

Stage 2: Participants are randomly assigned in one of the 4 groups: Participants in the control arm do not receive information. Participants in treatment arms are provided with information about the effect of effort on performance for Stage 1 participants. Depending on which treatment arm they are, they get somewhat different information.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The beliefs about how effort affects performance

How many lessons completed during the study period (effort measure)

Improvement in test scores (Will be measured as the difference between final test score and initial test score)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Stage 1: Measuring the Causal Relationship Between Effort and Performance
In Stage 1, participants first complete an initial survey and take an online assessment test. The main aim of the survey is to collect demographic information about participants. The test assesses their initial level of knowledge of Spanish. Participants then sign up for an online language-learning platform. Participants are randomly allocated to online classrooms with different assignment levels. After studying through the platform as assigned for one month, they take another online test that assesses their final level of knowledge and they answer a short survey about their study behavior.

Stage 2: Eliciting and Changing Beliefs about How Effort Affects Performance
In Stage 2, participants first complete the initial survey and take the online assessment test. They then sign up for the same online language-learning platform. Every week, they complete a survey eliciting their beliefs about the importance of study effort on determining performance. After the first belief elicitation survey, a random subset of the participants receives information regarding the effect of the study effort on performance, which is based on the information collected in Stage 1 whereas the others do not receive such information. Participants in Stage 2 are free to study through the platform as much as they like for one month. At the end of study period, they take the final test and answer a short end survey about their study patterns.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer using the "" website.
Randomization Unit
Randomization unit is the individual.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
600 participants
Sample size: planned number of observations
600 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Stage 1: 150 participants
Effort Group 1: 30
Effort Group 2: 30
Effort Group 3: 30
Effort Group 4: 30
Effort Group 5: 30

Stage 2: 460 participants
No Information: 115
Information Group 1 : 115
Information Group 2: 115
Information Group 3: 115
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Stanford University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers