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Durham University

Research & business

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Experimental Methods in Business Research

A research group of the Business School.

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The adoption of controlled experiments is one of the most important trends in business research. It largely stems from the desire to move beyond empirically documenting correlations of factors to establishing causation.

This trend is evident in the rapidly increasing number of papers using experimental methods in top journals and its potential to generate impact (see FT article). Further, for schools that emphasise research-led teaching, experimental research is one of the types most easily brought to the classroom.

The Experimental Methods in Business Research Group (EMBR) provides an umbrella for the development of the research infrastructure and the intellectual environment for experimental-based research at Durham University Business School, as well as the Durham University research community at large. The research group is interdisciplinary and includes members from outside the Business School from Psychology and Political Science.

In terms of research infrastructure, EMBR overseas the management and development of the Experimental Science Lab at the Wolfson Research Institute at the University's Queen's Campus. The development of the intellectual environment involves the running of a workshop series, research conferences, and the supervision of PhD students.

Many of EMBR’s activities are done in concert with a close relationship with the Behavioral Economics Northeast Cluster. BENC is a collaborative effort between Durham University Business School and Newcastle University Business School. BENC promotes and facilitates experimental and behavioural research in the domains of academia, policy and business, and promotes the international visibility of Northeast England as leader in these areas. In addition, the cluster helps identify and support a critical mass of expertise under one visible banner, greatly increasing the potential impactful outreach within the public and private sectors. BENC delivers a series of workshops hosted by both internal and external speakers. The location alternates between Durham University Business School and Newcastle University.

The five-year objective of the EMBR group is to place Durham in the premier bracket of UK institutions for experimental business research in the UK and establish a strong global reputation.

  • Consistently publishing 3- and 4-star quality research in the areas of economics, finance, accounting, operations management, marketing, and organisational behaviour.
  • Attracting and supervising high-calibre PhD students capable of winning NEDTC studentships or other competitive scholarships, and the placement of PhD graduates at leading research universities, as well as research positions in the public and private sector.
  • Successful engagement with public and industry partners incorporating experimental methods that lead to high quality impact


Department of Economics and Finance, Durham University Business School, Mill Hill Lane, Durham, DH1 3LB

Faculty, Durham University Business School, Mill Hill Lane, Durham DH1 3LB

Research Staff, Durham University Business School, Mill Hill Lane, Durham DH1 3LB

Publications by staff in this group

Journal Article

Chapter in book