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Learning Democracy: Inducing Democratic Citizenship and Voter Mobilisation through Online Civic Education - An Experimental Approach
Last registered on August 06, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Learning Democracy: Inducing Democratic Citizenship and Voter Mobilisation through Online Civic Education - An Experimental Approach
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004509
Initial registration date
August 05, 2019
Last updated
August 06, 2019 11:54 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Middlesex University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Pittsburg
PI Affiliation
University of Glasgow
PI Affiliation
Democracy International
PI Affiliation
Democracy International
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-08-06
End date
2019-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of three different civic education campaigns using Facebook and Instagram among Tunisian citizens. By comparing each of the treatment arms with the control group, the research team will assess the effectiveness of each intervention on political knowledge, political interest, political self-efficacy, support for democratic norms and institutions, and intentions to participate in the coming 2019 elections.

The study will consist of an online randomised controlled trial targeting a total of at least 20,000 participants. The intervention consists of three different sets of videos on democracy, a placebo and a self-selected group (democracy or non-democracy videos). Participants within each treatment arm will be randomly selected for an extra task of writing-up short sentences on the videos they have watched.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Abbarno, Aaron et al. 2019. "Learning Democracy: Inducing Democratic Citizenship and Voter Mobilisation through Online Civic Education - An Experimental Approach." AEA RCT Registry. August 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4509-1.0.
Former Citation
Abbarno, Aaron et al. 2019. "Learning Democracy: Inducing Democratic Citizenship and Voter Mobilisation through Online Civic Education - An Experimental Approach." AEA RCT Registry. August 06. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4509/history/51329.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Details of this experiment are available upon request.
Intervention Start Date
2019-08-06
Intervention End Date
2019-08-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Political knowledge, civic competence including political interest and self-efficacy, support for democratic norms and institutions, and intentions to participate in the 2019 national elections.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study will consist of an online randomised controlled trial targeting a total of at least 20,000 participants. Young people will be recruited through Facebook and Instagram. In a first step, participants will answer a few basic demographic questions. Based on this listing survey, they will then be randomly selected into four different online courses (T1-T3, C). Further, as part of the same randomisation, a fifth group will be given the opportunity to choose across any of the 4 online courses (S). These courses will be delivered through short videos. T1, T2 and T3 videos will present different portrayals of democracy, whereas the C arm will be a placebo group. The fifth treatment is identified as the selection-arm and will give the option to participants to choose between a video on democracy or a video unrelated to democracy.

Randomisation will be achieved by randomly allocating participants to any of the 5 groups (T1, T2, T3, C or S) as soon as they finish their listing survey. Our participants will be stratified by gender and within treatment arms they will be randomly allocated to an additional intervention consisting of a task on writing up short sentences on the videos they have watched. Only half of our participants will be asked to be part of this additional task. In total, 10 treatments will be considered for this study (T1, T2, T3, C and S).

Further details of this study will be public in September 2019.
Experimental Design Details
The objective of this project is to run an online experiment to test the effectiveness of different civic education campaigns to (1) increase Tunisian citizens’ political knowledge, (2) improve their “civic competence,” (i.e. political interest and self-efficacy), (3) strengthen support for democratic norms and institutions, and (4) generate participation in the 2019 national elections. The study will consist of an online randomised controlled trial targeting a total of at least 20,000 participants. This sample size assumes an 85% statistical power. To achieve our main objective, we will have 5 experimental arms where each arm will consist of a set of three videos and the task of writing short sentences on the topic addressed by the videos. Only half of our participant will be randomly assigned to such task within each treatment arm. Our treatment arms are enlisted below: T1: Videos on democracy in Tunisia and what it can deliver for ordinary people (gain videos). T2: Videos on the Tunisia's authoritarian past and their social and political costs (loss aversion videos). T3: Videos on the practicalities of the upcoming national elections in Tunisia and the essential requirements of voters to register (practical videos) C: Placebo video on the wildlife in Tunisia. (placebo videos) S: Self-Selection video where participants are allowed to decide what to watch from the pool of T1, T2, T3 and C videos. By comparing each of the treatment arms with the control group, the research team will assess the effectiveness of each intervention on political knowledge, political interest, political self-efficacy, support for democratic norms and institutions, and self-reported participation in the coming 2019 elections. In addition, the comparison between treatments will shed light on whether emotional videos on democracy (T1/T2) are more effective than the practical ones (T3). The videos have been newly designed and are based on existing content used mostly as offline material. The intervention will be administered over a period of 3 weeks. A short survey collecting socio-demographic information will be collected to stratify the sample of participants by gender. The intervention consists in a set of three videos for each treatment arm and a task consisting of writing short sentences about democracy right after watching the videos. Only half of our participants will receive the task and all participants will be randomly assigned to any of the five treatment arms. In total, there are 10 treatment arms (T1, T2, T3, C and S) where each of the arms will be randomly selected for the additional task or not. After participants watch the videos, a 15-minute survey is collected to measure short-term impacts of the treatments on our main outcomes of interest. Two weeks later, participants will be re-contacted to measure medium-term effects of our treatments.
Randomization Method
Simple randomisation using Survey Monkey.
Randomization Unit
Individuals between 18-35 years old
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters involved.
Sample size: planned number of observations
20,000 Tunisian citizens between 18-35 years old.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be 10 treatment arms with 2,000 observations.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our sample size was calculated using a MDS of 8 percentage points on preferences for democracy using a baseline proportion of 0.5951 and assuming a statistical power of 85%. Our significance level of 0.05 has been corrected by the total number of hypotheses derived from the multiple comparisons between treatment arms.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Middlesex University London, Research Ethical Committee
IRB Approval Date
2019-07-18
IRB Approval Number
7673
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers