The Experimental Research Faculty of the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE-ERF) offers a state-of-the-art facility for experimental, behavioural research.
The Facility will enable behavioural researchers to test economic theories and develop policies. Behavioural experiments are an increasingly important tool in social sciences research but also in business and policy-making.
Laboratory experiments allow researchers to study behaviour at a level of precision that is not feasible outside the lab.
A lot of experimental research in social sciences happens in laboratories like this where researchers can study people’s behaviour in highly controlled settings, allowing detailed observation of people and enabling zooming in on very particular aspects of behaviour.
Today, researchers study everything from risk-taking, to trading mechanisms, auction design and trading robots. Increasingly, controlled experimentation is also used in government agencies to test policy options before they are implemented, these days sometimes referred to as ‘nudges’; and in business, to test processes or products before they are rolled out in the market.
Experiments are used to study behaviour and develop theories in many areas of the social sciences, ranging from consumer research, to accounting, market microstructure and health economics. They are also increasingly being used by businesses and government agencies to develop and test new products, services and policies, before they are being rolled out in the population.
The FBE-ERF allows researchers to conduct a wide range of experiments with up to 40 participants at a time. It is primarily available to academics and students of the Faculty of Business and Economics.
The FBE-ERF is located at 233 Bouverie Street in Carlton. It comprises a lab management area, waiting area and two testing areas with a total of 12 testing rooms of varying capacity.
Testing area Alpha (G28)
This area is a large computer lab with 40 (PC) workstations. The room also contains two ceiling-mounted projectors that can be projected onto screens on either side of the room.
The workstations can be separated by dividers.
This testing area is suitable for markets experiments and individual experiments with a large number of concurrent participants.
Testing area Beta (G11-G27)
This area contains 11 testing rooms (8 one-person testing rooms, 1 two-person testing room, and 2 six-person testing rooms).
One-person testing rooms (G21-G27): These rooms are suitable for a single participant. The rooms are soundproofed to avoid sound contamination of adjacent testing rooms.
Two-person testing room (G13): This room is suitable for up to two participants. It contains two desks and chairs that can be arranged by the researcher.
Six-person testing rooms (G11-G12): These rooms contain a large desk with six chairs. They also contain a wall-mounted flat screen TV (add specifications).
All rooms in testing area Beta are equipped with video cameras for participant monitoring. The camera images are displayed on a monitor wall in the lab management area.
The entire building is equipped with UniWireless routers.
The FBE-ERF is available to academics and students of the Faculty of Business and Economics.
The facility can only be used for data acquisition related to studies that have received ethics approval by the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee. Ethics approval needs be granted prior to the beginning of data acquisition. If ethics approval for a study has been granted by another university, the study needs to be registered with the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee prior to the beginning of data acquisition.
At least one of the investigators of a study needs to have an affiliation with the Faculty of Business and Economics.
Clinical trials, studies with patients
The FBE-ERF cannot be used for clinical trials or for studies involving patients.
For all inquiries regarding the FBE-ERF, please contact the FBE Experimental Research Laboratory Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. A detailed guide is also available for FBE staff on the FBE Intranet here: https://staff.unimelb.edu.au/fbe/research/platforms.