Getting asked to from pairs vs. being supported to form pairs - the effect of a random partnership nudge on students exam performance

Last registered on October 08, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Getting asked to from pairs vs. being supported to form pairs - the effect of a random partnership nudge on students exam performance
Initial registration date
October 08, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 08, 2021, 2:51 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Universit├Ąt Paderborn

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universit├Ąt Paderborn

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
As it is likely the case in many institutions across the world, in a first semester course all students are encouraged to search for a partner that they can learn and successfully complete the module with. Yet, finding a partner is costly, as students may have to ask multiple peers and reveal information. That's why we test the effect of a nudging measure in addition to this encouragement. The tutorial groups of the course are divided into two conditions. In one of them, no intervention is made. In the other, interested students are assigned to a random partner and provided with a set of questions which may create closeness. We are then going to investigate the effect of this measure on students performance in the written exam of the course about 8 weeks later.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Horst, Ingolf and Wendelin Schnedler. 2021. "Getting asked to from pairs vs. being supported to form pairs - the effect of a random partnership nudge on students exam performance." AEA RCT Registry. October 08.
Experimental Details


Tutorial groups in one condition are supported with a program to form dyadic study groups. In the other condition, no support is offered.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Points reached in the written examination at the end of the course.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The exam will take place on the 11th of December, 2021

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment is conducted as part of an introductory course in economics in the first semester of a bachelor's program. Before the lectures start, all students are greeted with a short video by the professor (Wendelin Schnedler). In the one-minute video, he advises them to find a learning partner to work with during the course. The nudge begins with a reference to this video: To help find a learning partner, a program is offered in part of the module's tutorials. The software program guides students through a random partner assignment. Next, screens of the formed pairs devices alternately display questions subjects can answer to each other to facilitate closeness (from The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings (Aron, 1997)). We examine the effect of this intervention by comparing the exam results of students in the control and the treatment group.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The two groups "random parnter nudge" and "no random parnter nudge" are distributed across the different days of the first week of tutorials such that randomization regarding day of the week, time of the day and tutor is ensured as far as possible.
Randomization Unit
tutorial group
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
10-12 tutorial groups
Sample size: planned number of observations
300-400 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
5-6 tutorial groups no random partner nudge
5-6 tutorial groups random partner nudge
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials