The LSE Behavioural Research Lab is available for staff and students across LSE to conduct research. The BRL’s facilities and software mean that it is suitable for running a wide range of studies, from computer-based games to interviews to group activities.
Who can use the BRL?
The BRL is open for use by LSE staff, LSE PhD students and LSE Master's students at no charge, unless significant funding is being received.
Unfortunately use of the BRL is not permitted for LSE undergraduate students.
The use of our participant database and recruitment tools are not permitted for studies hosted outside the BRL.
External researchers or commercial organisations are not permitted to use the BRL facilities unless in collaboration with LSE staff.
What does it cost to use the BRL?
Researchers should budget for both the BRL’s hourly rate and participant payments when planning on running in the BRL. The BRL’s hourly rate is £170 for research supported by grants and participants are generally paid £5 for a 30 minute study or £10 for a 60 minute study. Please see the ‘Budgeting’ section below for further information.
Step-by-step guide to using the BRL
The BRL is a versatile space for researchers, so it can be used to conduct a wide-range of behavioural studies. As our facilities include a large computer lab, 4 meeting rooms, and an observation room, researchers can use the space to conduct a variety of studies including computer-based surveys, tasks or games and discussion-based experiments or focus groups, for example.
For researchers that are new to conducting behavioural research, please refer to our recommended resources:
Please see the BRL’s facilities and software pages for information on the rooms, equipment and software available in the BRL.
The BRL doesn't offer programming or experimental design assistance, but should you require this service we recommend using our preferred partners Expilab Research.
Expilab specialises in the programming and design of behavioural experiments in social sciences, consumer research, and public policy-making. Expilab's research platform allows creation or replication any online environments from search engines, web-stores, showrooms, healthcare portals, social networks to fully-functional and realistic online gambling websites.
Their full-time, professional service and support will ensure your experiment is well-designed and enables you to make the most efficient use of your time.
To find out more about Expilab, please visit their website:
All studies taking place in the BRL must be approved by the researcher’s university. To obtain ethics approval at the LSE, researchers must first complete the Ethics Checklist in Annex B. For more information on research ethics, please see the Framework for Research Ethics compiled by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
In addition to completing the Ethics Checklist, researchers should also prepare Consent and Debriefing forms:
Consent form - The consent form describes the risks and benefits of the study to the research participants. Participants must sign the consent form to indicate they have read and understood it before they can participate in the study. In a computer-based study, the consent form can be provided electronically. The participant in effect signs the consent form by choosing to proceed with the study. If using video recording equipment, then participants should be notified of this when signing up.
Debriefing form - Participants benefit from learning about the study they were involved in. Thus at the end of each study, the researcher must provide participants with a brief, general explanation of the purpose of the study, without revealing the hypotheses (this could jeopardise the study if students discuss the hypotheses with future participants). This can be provided electronically or on paper.
If you are a student working with an external organisation, you may also want to use our letter to contact organisations template (PDF).
Researchers should budget for both the BRL’s hourly rate and participant payments when planning on running in the BRL.
BRL Hourly Rate:
£170 per hour (where applicable)
No charge (supervision required)
Not currently permitted
The LSE Research Division will be responsible for determining which projects should be charged. If there is a large lab study component in a research project then the Research Division will ensure lab time is properly budgeted at the application stage.
Once a project has been determined to contain a lab study element, the Research Division will direct grant applicants to speak to the BRL Administrator so that a better understanding of required lab hours can be determined before formally submitting the funding application. If the application is successful researchers can then make a lab booking based on these hours. If it is determined at any point that additional hours are required, the Lab Administrator will communicate this to the Research Division who will update the costs accordingly. At the end of the lab study the final hours used will be reported back to the Research Division who will determine the total lab charges which need to be paid from the grant.
These costs are only for lab time. They do not include other research-related costs such as materials and participant payments (see below).
The hourly charge does not apply to PhD or MSc students, and will not apply to lab time spent testing and setting up.
Generally, participants receive £5 for 30 minute and £10 for 60 minute studies. Some studies deviate from this (are longer or have variable payment), but it usually works out to be at least £10 per hour.
If you need a cash advance from an LSE account, please follow the instructions on the Cash Advance Form (PDF). Please be aware that this process can take up to two weeks.
BRL availability calendar
The BRL is open from 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday. Lab studies should begin no earlier than 10.00am and finish by 5.00pm in order to allow enough time to set up and shut down the lab's facilities. We have several rooms, so depending on your needs you may be able to run a study at the same time as another researcher.
In the event of scheduling conflicts, consideration will given to research bringing funding to the BRL, Department of Management researchers, and those who have had prior use of the lab.
Making a booking and recruiting particpants
If you would like to use the BRL for your research, please follow these steps through the process:
Complete our BRL Booking Form - This will give us more information on the study you intend run, ensures you provide us with the paperwork we need and enables you to make any specific requests.
If Research Assistants are needed for your study, you’ll be asked for some additional details and we will advertise a post for you.
Set up the study in Sona (our participant sign-up system) - Once your booking form has been submitted, the lab administrator can has create a researcher account for you in Sona, and set up a study in the system based on your requirements. You will then be able to review and edit your study.
Recruit participants - We maintain a large participant database of around 2,000 contacts who have expressed an interest in participating in paid research, consisting primarily of LSE students and staff, but also those from surrounding universities as well as members of the public. We are happy to recruit participants for BRL studies through our database provided each participant is paid as outlined above.
Test software - If you're planning on using software in your study you should test this on the lab's computers prior to the study. Lab time can be arranged for this with the Lab Administrator.
If you have any further questions about the lab, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact our Behaviour Research Lab Administrator at email@example.com.