z-Tree online course

Welcome to my z-Tree online course!

This is a self-paced, fully online course, teaching you how to program and run experiments using the z-Tree programming environment for economic experiments. The course consists of a series of video chapters, augmented by exercises and other resources. Feel free to watch the entire course, start to finish, or to just pick out the one topic you wish to brush up on. You can download the chapter material from below the video, or the entire material from here.

A word on the exercise and demo treatments provided with some of the videos: for optimal learning success, refrain from opening these treatments until after you have watched the video and followed the programming instructions there. Nothing beats figuring out yourself how to solve a tricky programming problem for anchoring the material in your memory.

Finally, for best viewing experience (including HD quality, chapters, etc.), watch the videos directly on Youtube. You can find the whole list in my playlist "z-Tree online course".

Best of luck,

Please address questions and feedback to stefan.palan@uni-graz.at. Do also reach out if you want to contribute additional chapters or other material to the course - I would be happy to add further components helpful to beginning experimenters.

z-Tree online course by Stefan Palan is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The Youtube videos may use a different Creative Commons license - please check directly on the video website.

Chapter 0 | Welcome

This chapter welcomes you to the course and tells you where to find the course materials.

Further resources

Chapter 1 | Introduction to experimentation with z-Tree

This chapter starts by giving an introduction to the typical structure of an economic experiment and then goes on to describe fundamental principles and elements of z-Tree, like the client-server structure, the command line options, or the files created by z-Tree.

Further resources

Chapter 2 | Public goods game tutorial

In this chapter, we program and run our first experiment in z-tree.

Chapter 3 | Basics of z-Tree programming

This chapter discusses basic z-Tree elements (variable types, functions, Background, stages).

Further resources

Chapter 4 | Screen layout and items

This chapter discusses screen layout in z-Tree, and how to define items to obtain different layouts.

Further resources

Chapter 5 | Tables and scope

This chapter discusses one of the most crucial topics in z-Tree - tables and scope. After describing z-Tree's default tables, it tackles the interaction of tables and scope. Understanding these concepts is essential to becoming a proficient user of z-Tree. For this reason, the chapter dedicates considerable time to discussing it in theory and to illustrating it using examples.

Further resources

Chapter 6 | Matching

This chapter lays out z-Tree's tools for matching subjects into groups over time.

Further resources

Chapter 7 | Box types

This chapter discusses the most important box types available in z-Tree and typical use cases.

Further resources

Chapter 8 | Subject progression

This chapter describes how z-Tree's settings can be used to let subjects progress through an experiment at different speeds, such that individual subjects can be in different stages or even different "periods".

Further resources

Chapter 9 | Data import and export

Further resources

Chapter 10 | Questionnaires

This chapter discusses how questionnaires can be used to elicit information form subjects during an experiment.

Further resources

Chapter 11 | Managing z-Tree output

This chapter discusses how to best import z-Tree results data into analysis software such as Excel, R, Stata and others.

Further resources

Chapter 12 | Troubleshooting and ensuring there's no need to

This chapter discusses the worst case - a crash during the experiment - and how to, first, prevent it, and second, deal with it if it occurs despite your best efforts.

Further resources

Chapter 13 | Graphics teaser

This chapter illustrates some of the things that can be done with graphical elements in z-Tree. Being a teaser, the video just gives you a sneak peek, but it does point you to where you can learn more.

Further resources

Chapter 14 | Good practice and advice

This video is a mixed bag of notes about good programming or experimental methodology and advice from years of running experiments in z-Tree. Not everything will for you, but something most assuredly will be.

Further resources