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Experiment!: Planning, Implementing and Interpreting by Oivind Andersson

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10.8 Planning Checklist

Now that you have identified promising hypotheses by discarding the least promising ones using cause-and-effect tables and thought experiments, it is time to devise the actual experiment. In this final section of the chapter we will go through a rough checklist for this part of your investigation.

Firstly, all research begins with a question. You should be able to state clearly what you want to learn from the experiment. If you do not have a clear question, you will not obtain a clear answer. If the aim of the experiment is to test an hypothesis you must find a good method for testing it. Which variables are connected with the hypothesis? Which observations could support or disprove it? The answers to these questions will provide clues for a fruitful approach. You may have to build a special apparatus or a dedicated setup of equipment to create the conditions needed for the experiment, or to be able to observe the effect that you are interested in. Each experiment is unique but all involve a question and a method for answering it.

You must choose response variables that are relevant for your hypothesis. Sometimes, the effect of interest can be coupled to several different response variables. Be sure to collect all the information needed to analyze the experiment and understand the root causes behind the effect. It would be unfortunate to find that relevant information is missing during the analysis.

The response variables are coupled to input variables, ...

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