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Experiment!: Planning, Implementing and Interpreting

Book Description

Experiments are the most effective way to learn about the world. By cleverly interfering with something to see how it reacts we are able to find out how it works. In contrast to passive observation, experimenting provides us with data relevant to our research and thus less time and effort is spent separating relevant from irrelevant information.

The art of experimentation is often learnt by doing, so an intuitive understanding of the experimental method usually evolves gradually through years of trial and error. This book speeds up the journey for the reader to becoming a proficient experimenter.

Organized in two parts, this unique text begins by providing a general introduction to the scientific approach to experimentation. It then describes the processes and tools required, including the relevant statistical and experimental methods. Towards the end of the book a methodology is presented, which leads the reader through the three phases of an experiment: 'Planning', 'Data Collection', and 'Analysis and Synthesis'.

Experiment!

  • Provides an excellent introduction to the methodology and implementation of experimentation in the natural, engineering and medical sciences

  • Puts practical tools into scientific context

  • Features a number of selected actual experiments to explore what are the key characteristics of good experiments

  • Includes examples and exercises in every chapter

This book focuses on general research skills, such as adopting a scientific mindset, learning how to plan meaningful experiments and understanding the fundamentals of collecting and interpreting data. It is directed to anyone engaged in experiments, especially Ph.D. and masters students just starting to create and develop their own experiments.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Preface
  6. Part One: Understanding the World
    1. Chapter 1: You, the Discoverer
      1. 1.1 Venturing into the Unknown
      2. 1.2 Embarking on a Ph.D.
      3. 1.3 The Art of Discovery
      4. 1.4 About this Book
      5. 1.5 How to Use this Book
      6. Further Reading
    2. Chapter 2: What is Science?
      1. 2.1 Characteristics of the Scientific Approach
      2. 2.2 The Inductive Method
      3. 2.3 The Hypothetico-Deductive Method
      4. 2.4 Consequences of Falsification
      5. 2.5 The Role of Confirmation
      6. 2.6 Perception is Personal
      7. 2.7 The Scientific Community
      8. 2.8 Summary
      9. Further Reading
    3. Chapter 3: Science's Childhood
      1. 3.1 Infancy
      2. 3.2 Ionian Dawn
      3. 3.3 Divine Mathematics
      4. 3.4 Adolescence – Revolution!
      5. 3.5 The Children of the Revolution
      6. 3.6 Summary
      7. Further Reading
    4. Chapter 4: Science Inclined to Experiment
      1. 4.1 Galileo's Important Experiment
      2. 4.2 Experiment or Hoax?
      3. 4.3 Reconstructing the Experiment
      4. 4.4 Getting the Swing of Things
      5. 4.5 The Message from the Plane
      6. 4.6 Summary
    5. Chapter 5: Scientists, Engineers and Other Poets
      1. 5.1 Research and Development
      2. 5.2 Characteristics of Research
      3. 5.3 Building Theories
      4. 5.4 The Relationship between Theory and Reality
      5. 5.5 Creativity
      6. 5.6 Summary
      7. Further Reading
  7. Part Two: Interfering with theWorld
    1. Chapter 6: Experiment!
      1. 6.1 What is an Experiment?
      2. 6.2 Questions, Answers and Experiments
      3. 6.3 A Gallery of Experiments
      4. 6.4 Reflections on the Exhibition
      5. 6.5 Summary
      6. Further Reading
    2. Chapter 7: Basic Statistics
      1. 7.1 The Role of Statistics in Data Analysis
      2. 7.2 Populations and Samples
      3. 7.3 Descriptive Statistics
      4. 7.4 Probability Distribution
      5. 7.5 The Central Limit Effect
      6. 7.6 Normal Probability Plots
      7. 7.7 Confidence Intervals
      8. 7.8 The t-Distribution
      9. 7.9 Summary
      10. Further Reading
    3. Chapter 8: Statistics for Experiments
      1. 8.1 A Teatime Experiment
      2. 8.2 The Importance of Randomization
      3. 8.3 One-Sided and Two-Sided Tests
      4. 8.4 The t-Test for One Sample
      5. 8.5 The Power of a Test
      6. 8.6 Comparing Two Samples
      7. 8.7 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
      8. 8.8 A Measurement System Analysis
      9. 8.9 Other Useful Hypothesis Tests
      10. 8.10 Interpreting p-Values
      11. 8.11 Correlation
      12. 8.12 Regression Modeling
      13. 8.13 Summary
      14. Further Reading
    4. Chapter 9: Experimental Design
      1. 9.1 Statistics and the Scientific Method
      2. 9.2 Designs with One Categorical Factor
      3. 9.3 Several Categorical Factors: the Full Factorial Design
      4. 9.4 Are Interactions Important?
      5. 9.5 Factor Screening: Fractional Factorial Designs
      6. 9.6 Determining the Confounding Pattern
      7. 9.7 Design Resolution
      8. 9.8 Working with Screening Designs
      9. 9.9 Continuous Factors: Regression and Response Surface Methods
      10. 9.10 Summary
      11. Further Reading
    5. Chapter 10: Phase I: Planning
      1. 10.1 The Three Phases of Research
      2. 10.2 Experiment 1: Visual Orientation in a Beetle
      3. 10.3 Experiment 2: Lift-Off Length in a Diesel Engine
      4. 10.4 Finding Out What is Not Known
      5. 10.5 Determining the Scope
      6. 10.6 Tools for Generating Hypotheses
      7. 10.7 Thought Experiments
      8. 10.8 Planning Checklist
      9. 10.9 Summary
    6. Chapter 11: Phase II: Data Collection
      1. 11.1 Generating Understanding from Data
      2. 11.2 Measurement Uncertainty
      3. 11.3 Developing a Measurement System
      4. 11.4 Measurement System Analysis
      5. 11.5 The Data Collection Plan
      6. 11.6 Summary
      7. Further Reading
    7. Chapter 12: Phase III: Analysis and Synthesis
      1. 12.1 Turning Data into Information
      2. 12.2 Graphical Analysis
      3. 12.3 Mathematical Analysis
      4. 12.4 Writing a Scientific Paper
      5. 12.5 Writing a Ph.D. Thesis
      6. 12.6 Farewell
      7. 12.7 Summary
      8. Further Reading
  8. Appendix
    1. Standard Normal Probabilities
    2. Probability Points for the t-Distribution
  9. Index