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The design that an experiment follows is influenced by two main factors; the total number of factors under investigation and the set objectives for the experiment. In order to answer any question regarding experimental design, it is necessary to come up with an effective example of the experiment. In connection with this, this experiment used various examples e.g. an experiment that was conducted by a technologist who tried to evaluate the consumption of fuel in different buses M and N.
In the choice of the number of objectives to cover, the experiment used three objectives. A researcher must deal with an achievable number of objectives. This enables the researcher to direct their energy to the key priorities of the experiment. More than three objectives are often too many to be achieved in a single experiment (Donaghy, 2003). In making a decision of the number of objectives, it was necessary to evaluate the different choices of objectives in experimental design. Though this varied, the most distinctive type were the comparative objective where the experiment deals with either one or more than one factor with the aim of making a conclusion on one of the factors (Charles, 2002).
Measurement of the objectives of the experiment can take a two fold. At one hand, the experiment can decide to use quantitative measurements to evaluate the experiment. This are often measured using numbers. The quantitative measurements often evaluate the outcomes through figures. Time and budget are used under this form of measurement. On the other hand, a researcher might decide to use qualitative measurements to measure the objectives. The qualitative measurements are used when the experiment results cannot be stated in terms of units. The measurements are stated in terms of qualitative words such as good and bad. In the experiment, the researcher chooses to use a combination of both quantitative and qualitative measurements.
3.0 Evaluation Criteria
In choosing a criterion for evaluation, and their quality characteristic, the researcher chooses to use the following procedure. The first criterion was to gauge the ability of the objective to be accomplished within a given time frame. If possible, the objective should go as far as state its end date e.g. by 2030, the level of poverty in the country should have reduced by a half. By working with a specific deadline, objectives become realistic and incorporate foresight.
The main aim of designing an objective is to create a guiding framework towards the achievement of the goal. Thus, one criterion of evaluating the objective is to weigh it by relating it to a goal. If the objective does not lead to a specified goal, then, the objective is ineffective. For instance, if the goal is for the citizens to access quality health services, then one of the objectives can be for the hospital to purchase new hospital equipments and provide staff training for better provision of services. The objective directly relates to the set goal.
Another criterion of evaluating the effectiveness of the objective can be accessing the number of outcomes that each objective links with. Each objective should only link to one outcome. Objectives which directly relates to more than one outcome are ineffective and often stated in ambiguous terms. Such objectives are unrealistic and often cannot be achieved. Also, the effectiveness of an objective lies in its ability to be written in certain measurable terms. It should clearly answer the question on “how or to what extent the experiment was achieved?”
Clarity and simplicity should be the guiding factors to the effectiveness of any objective. When the objectives are clear and simple, they are well understood and they guide the experimenters in achieving the set objectives. In another criterion, though the objectives should be directed to certain end results, they should only clarify the “when” and “what’ without going into the details of ‘how” and “why’’. Every objective should possess the SMART characteristics i.e. it should be specific, measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timed (Boughton, 2002).
4.0 Experimental factors
On the question of the factors to incorporate in the experiment, the researcher will use the case of the technologist. It is wise to construct a design with two or more factors. Each of the factors should have a probable result or value (Barker, 1998). The values to be experimented should add up if combined at different levels of the factor. If a technologist is evaluating the consumption of fuel in different buses M and N. He will need to use different speeds e.g. 600 and 700. The experiment comprises of four variables. Bus M at 600, Bus N AT 700. Bus N at 600 and Bus M at 700. From above, the four factors have to be incorporated in the study. All the factors are necessary because they facilitate the inaccuracy or the error to be calculated in two different ways. This principle in the design of the experiment enables the replication of results. In dealing with the variables there is a probable tradeoff between the factors. The principle of probability helps in the random interchange of variables (Weiss, 2010). This reduces bias and increases the objectives of the experiment.
As seen above, the design of an experiment comprises a perquisite tool to the success of any experiment. It provides a guiding framework through which a researcher concentrates on planning the actual experiment. Experiments require a procedural approach often accomplished through an effective design. Therefore, before creating the actual experiments, it is important to create a clear set of objectives. It is also necessary to clarify the factors that the experiment will be dealing with, alongside the set objectives.
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