Audit study. A type of field experiment used in economics, sociology, political science, and psychology, an audit study is one in which trained employees of the researcher ("auditors") are matched on all characteristics except the one being tested for discrimination.
Audit studies have been conducted to test the existence of discrimination in numerous occupations and services and in regards to multiple characteristics. For example, studies have been conducted to measure discrimination against racial minorities by real estate agents, as well as gender discrimination against women applying for restaurant jobs. Most employment-related audit studies have focused on overqualified college students applying for low-paying jobs during the summer. They have also been used to measure racial and gender discrimination in academia, As well as racial discrimination in the low and high ends of the labor market.