Experimental Design B/C

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Experimental Design B/C

Postby bernard » June 16th, 2016, 10:00 pm

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby brayden box » September 28th, 2016, 8:17 am

Could someone please elaborate on the "Standard of Comparison"? I have a small idea what it is, but I rarely get it right. Usually we put some kind of zero.
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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby SPP SciO » September 28th, 2016, 9:38 am

brayden box wrote:Could someone please elaborate on the "Standard of Comparison"? I have a small idea what it is, but I rarely get it right. Usually we put some kind of zero.


Copied and pasted from 2008 training manual found online:

"STANDARD OF COMPARISON or EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL is component or level in which the independent variable is not changed or manipulated. It is used to verify that from trial to trial everything is kept the same and that the change in the independent variable is actually causing the response in the dependent variable. It can help to identify hidden variables which you did not identify as constants and which may affect you results. It may be a level of the independent variable or a separate group which receives not treatment. For the examples listed above you may choose the 0% or 0 cm levels as a standard of comparison because they do not be reflect a change to the independent variable. In testing light exposure on plants, there might be a test group of plants which receive different levels of light and a control group of plants which receive no light."
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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby SPP SciO » September 28th, 2016, 10:12 am

SPP SciO wrote:
brayden box wrote:Could someone please elaborate on the "Standard of Comparison"? I have a small idea what it is, but I rarely get it right. Usually we put some kind of zero.


Copied and pasted from 2008 training manual found online:

"STANDARD OF COMPARISON or EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL is component or level in which the independent variable is not changed or manipulated. It is used to verify that from trial to trial everything is kept the same and that the change in the independent variable is actually causing the response in the dependent variable. It can help to identify hidden variables which you did not identify as constants and which may affect you results. It may be a level of the independent variable or a separate group which receives not treatment. For the examples listed above you may choose the 0% or 0 cm levels as a standard of comparison because they do not be reflect a change to the independent variable. In testing light exposure on plants, there might be a test group of plants which receive different levels of light and a control group of plants which receive no light."


Sometimes it's simple to figure out what goes in the control group, but more often than not, you can't completely remove whatever the IV is, so I teach my students to seek the most "normal" conditions and use that as a control group. There's not necessarily a single "right" way to set it up for each experiment. For example, one of the first practice Exp. Des. prompts I give my students is to design an experiment concerning the bounce height of several sportballs (they may have a handball, tennis ball, golf ball, and basketball provided). There's a few different ways to go about this -

1. Choose one ball, and drop it from different heights, and record the different bounce heights (IV drop height, DV bounce height). Not necessarily the best - you could set up your "control" as a 0cm "drop" and record 0cm for "bounce height" but what's to be learned from that?
2. Drop all the different sportballs from the same height and record bounce heights (IV type of ball, DV bounce height). May be better - but what's the control group? You could choose any type of ball, but you'd be expected to provide a rationale... "We chose to designate the basketball as the standard of comparison, because they are frequently bounced intentionally by players as they dribble." I'd be happy with that logic, but if they chose another SOC and a different rationale, it may work also.
3. Choose one ball, and drop it onto different surfaces, such as the tile floor, wooden desk, floor covered with cardboard, and measure the bounce height (IV bounce surface, DV bounce height). In this case, you'd select the most normal/typical surface as the control (maybe the wooden desk, if the logic is it's similar to a basketball court?)

Keep in mind, for every decision you make, you need to justify your decision in writing. So, even if the way you designate your control group/SOC seems arbitrary, a thoughtful rationale will earn points.

Full disclosure: I've never actually judged/scored this event at a tournament, so, corrections are welcome if I'm incorrect about anything here
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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby whovian11 » October 3rd, 2016, 9:12 am

what is the most common test you get? thanks :) this is my first time doing this event and I'm a bit nervous. :oops: :?: :|

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby Unome » October 3rd, 2016, 9:43 am

whovian11 wrote:what is the most common test you get? thanks :) this is my first time doing this event and I'm a bit nervous. :oops: :?: :|

I would expect physics-based labs to be common, since they are generally easier to set up (Disclaimer: I did this event once, four years ago).
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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby ScienceOlympian » October 3rd, 2016, 4:54 pm

Unome wrote:
whovian11 wrote:what is the most common test you get? thanks :) this is my first time doing this event and I'm a bit nervous. :oops: :?: :|

I would expect physics-based labs to be common, since they are generally easier to set up (Disclaimer: I did this event once, four years ago).

Typically, at a regionals level, you will be a lot of physics experiments (don't worry, they pretty much require 8th grade physics), but sometimes there are very basic chemistry experiments. such as factors affecting solubility of sugar or salt, for example. Nothing should go beyond a high school level.
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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby Panda Weasley » October 3rd, 2016, 5:52 pm

ScienceOlympian wrote:
Unome wrote:
whovian11 wrote:what is the most common test you get? thanks :) this is my first time doing this event and I'm a bit nervous. :oops: :?: :|

I would expect physics-based labs to be common, since they are generally easier to set up (Disclaimer: I did this event once, four years ago).

Typically, at a regionals level, you will be a lot of physics experiments (don't worry, they pretty much require 8th grade physics), but sometimes there are very basic chemistry experiments. such as factors affecting solubility of sugar or salt, for example. Nothing should go beyond a high school level.

Agreed. In my 3 years of ExpDes I would say a good 75% of the tests I took were related to basic physics. The other ones were easy chemistry. There was also that awful one at regionals that one time. I still don't really understand what they were looking for.
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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby whovian11 » October 13th, 2016, 7:02 am

Thanks!!! I'll definitely study more physics! :)

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby craigm » November 9th, 2016, 6:59 am

This is also my first time doing this event.... I'm pretty nervous on what to expect. We have done a couple of the practice tests and now I'm beginning to wonder if we will end up having to do multiple experiments in the 50 minutes we have, I also feel like all of the experiments we tested with the practice lists were to easy. Can you give me an example of what to expect?

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby Panda Weasley » November 9th, 2016, 7:42 am

craigm wrote:This is also my first time doing this event.... I'm pretty nervous on what to expect. We have done a couple of the practice tests and now I'm beginning to wonder if we will end up having to do multiple experiments in the 50 minutes we have, I also feel like all of the experiments we tested with the practice lists were to easy. Can you give me an example of what to expect?

The only reason you would do more than one experiment is if you compete in a state that uses the stations format. In this case you would be sections of different experiments. For example the procedure of experiment A, the analysis of B, and the experiment of C.
It's a good sign if you feel like what you are doing is easy and you are consistently doing well. I would suggest trying to find harder examples. What list are you looking at for these examples?

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby 19sawickin » December 4th, 2016, 8:26 am

Can anyone tell me what I'm supposed to do for "different ways to approach hypothesis" in the "applications" section? The scioly page gives an example of testing a parachute with varying masses I believe, and said that using a computer simulation is an example of approaching the hypothesis from a different angle. I've used this idea at a few invitationals as well as state tournaments, and it has never been a problem. However, at the Cornell invitational, my team received 2's in everything, and a 0 for this section, and no explanation was provided. We performed an experiment to determine the relationship between the volume of water in a constant sized beaker, and the amount of time it took for a drop of dye to reach the bottom of the beaker. In my questioned area, I more or less said that a different way to approach our hypothesis would be to use a computer simulation to take into account the surface tension of water as well as the dye, and provide more constant conditions. I literally said "a different way to approach our hypothesis is to..." so it was definitely present, meaning my example must not have been valid? What could I have done instead?

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby Llamastwaimzjf » December 6th, 2016, 9:13 pm

Hey, this is my second year working on experimental design and I had a question on how to write a well written statement of problem and the standard of comparison? I'm having some trouble understanding these concepts, I would really appreciate your help. Thank you.

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby Panda Weasley » December 7th, 2016, 7:39 am

Don't you love it when your computer logs you out and you have to re-type the post you just finished? Oh well.

19sawickin wrote:Can anyone tell me what I'm supposed to do for "different ways to approach hypothesis" in the "applications" section? The scioly page gives an example of testing a parachute with varying masses I believe, and said that using a computer simulation is an example of approaching the hypothesis from a different angle. I've used this idea at a few invitationals as well as state tournaments, and it has never been a problem. However, at the Cornell invitational, my team received 2's in everything, and a 0 for this section, and no explanation was provided. We performed an experiment to determine the relationship between the volume of water in a constant sized beaker, and the amount of time it took for a drop of dye to reach the bottom of the beaker. In my questioned area, I more or less said that a different way to approach our hypothesis would be to use a computer simulation to take into account the surface tension of water as well as the dye, and provide more constant conditions. I literally said "a different way to approach our hypothesis is to..." so it was definitely present, meaning my example must not have been valid? What could I have done instead?

The supervisor probably wanted you to give an example of a different experiment that tests the same hypothesis rather than a different way of testing the same experiment. I'd argue that performing the same experiment in a different way is a different experiment, but not everyone will agree with that. I'd try thinking of some ways to change the experiment to test the same hypothesis.

Llamastwaimzjf wrote:Hey, this is my second year working on experimental design and I had a question on how to write a well written statement of problem and the standard of comparison? I'm having some trouble understanding these concepts, I would really appreciate your help. Thank you.

Two key things to keep in mind when writing your SoP is to make sure that its very specific and testable. "How does changing the mass of a paper airplane effect its time aloft?" rather than "Does changing mass effect paper airplane flight?". For the second part don't make a long complicated experiment if you can think of a much easier one (to save time and your nerves). If you are writing the SoP as a question, make sure that it isn't yes/no. "How does ____?" rather than "Does ___?". This is also shown in my above examples.

Defining a good SoC depends on what type of experiment you are doing. If performing an experiment in which you are adding mass to something, that thing without any extra mass would be the SoC (in the example above the SoC would be the paper airplane with no extra mass). If performing an experiment based on different sizes or types of something, the average would be the best SoC. For example if comparing the bounce height of various balls (lets say a soccer ball, a basketball, and a football (side note- why is soccer ball 2 words, but the other two are 1 word?)), the basketball would most likely be the best SoC because it is designed to be bounced. While some SoC are better than others, as long as you can explain why you chose that SoC it works.

I hope this helps!

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Re: Experimental Design B/C

Postby Llamastwaimzjf » December 7th, 2016, 9:01 pm

Thank you. Also, what my team did is we took the requirements in the write up and split them up. Since my other two partners are new and younger than me I'm doing statistics. For statistics, I include the average,range, mode, median, mean deviation and when we went to invitationals in that part we got 5/6 points what were we missing?


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