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Does Priming on Civilizational Identity Shape Attitudes on Foreign Relations in Russia?
Initial registration date
July 15, 2019
July 16, 2019 9:21 AM EDT
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George Washington University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
This study employs a priming experiment to assess whether civilizational identity significantly shapes attitudes toward important questions of foreign relations in Russia. Apart from a control group, randomly selected subsets of individuals in the study are primed to have in mind the category of civilizations generally, the idea that Russia belongs to European civilization specifically, the idea that Russia does not belong to European civilization, and a statement by Russian leader Vladimir Putin that Russia is part of European civilization. The study then assesses whether these different primes are associated with different responses to questions that elicit attitudes on Muslim migration, the Ukraine conflict, US-Russia relations, and Russian economic development prospects relative to the rest of the world. The differences will yield estimates of the extent to which civilizational identity influences attitudes on foreign relations. The study will also explore whether effects vary by whether people think Russia is part of European civilization, by education, by age, by ethnicity, and by geographic place.
All respondents in a sample of adults in the Russian Federation designed to be nationally representative are posed five questions that are designed to elicit attitudes regarding Muslim migration, the Ukraine conflict, US-Russia relations (two questions), and Russian economic development prospects relative to the rest of the world. The respondents are randomly distributed into five subsamples of approximately equal size, with each subsample receiving a different preamble to the set of questions.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Four of the five outcome questions ask people to indicate whether they agree or disagree on a four-point scale with statements that: Muslim migration is bad, the conflict in Ukraine is impossible to resolve peacefully, the US and Russia are doomed to be rivals, and Russia on track to become a leading developed economy. A fifth outcome question asks people to choose from among four ways in which Russia should relate to the United States.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The outcomes of interest are the differences in the share of individuals in each treatment subsample who give each answer to the five outcome questions. These differences will enable the researcher to assess the degree to which having civilizational identity in mind in different ways influences expressed attitudes on the outcome questions.
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The experiment (full text attached to this registry) is embedded in the monthly omnibus survey of the highly reputable independent Russian firm Levada Market Research (LMR), using their standard methodology.
Experimental Design Details
Roughly equal proportions of CAPI and PAPI respondents will receive each treatment. For the CAPI respondents in the sample, randomization is achieved using the randomization feature of the software Simpleforms, designed specifically for survey research. For the PAPI respondents in the sample, the research uses the randomization feature of the software Microsoft Excel to randomly assign one of the five versions of the randomized-preamble question described above to the number of each questionnaire to be administered as part of LMR’s omnibus survey. The survey agency then creates single-page “inserts,” with each insert containing only the correct version of the question to be administered for its assigned questionnaire and the number of that assigned questionnaire. The inserts are then inserted into the questionnaire assigned to that insert. The questionnaire itself (independently of the insert) contains not the actual question, but instructions for the enumerator to use the insert and instructions for recording the respondent’s response (count).
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,602 adult residents of the Russian Federation
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 320 control, 320 each for the four treatments
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
George Washington University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number