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Design of Experiments

  • For the biologist who doubts an old hypothesis or wishes to test out a new one, there is the biological laboratory. There, under conditions over which he can exercise the most rigid control, he can vary the light, the air, the food, which his plants or his animals receive, from the moment of birth throughout their lifetime. Keeping all the conditions but one constant, he can make accurate measurement of the effect of the one. This is the ideal method of science, the method of the controlled experiment, through which all hypotheses may be submitted to a strict objective test. ... Unfortunately such methods of experiment are denied to us when our materials are humanity and the whole fabric of a social order. This is a quote from American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) from the introduction to the 1973 edition of her 1929 book "Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization".

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  • A cartoon to teach about one difficulty in conducting medical research compared to education research arising from problems in obtaining informed consent from subjects. Cartoon by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.

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  • Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is an absurd one, a quote by French Philosopher Francois-Marie Arouet (1694 - 1778), more commonly known by his pen name Voltaire. The quote appeared in a letter to Frederick II of Prussia in 1767.

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  • Hiawatha Designs an Experiment is a poem by English statistician Sir Maurice George Kendall (1907 - 1983). The poem can be used in teaching about the trade-off between reliability and bias found in many inference problems and in designing experiments and interpreting the results of an ANOVA. The poem was originally published in "The American Statistician" December, 1959.

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  • Experiment is the sole source of truth. It alone can teach us something new: it alone can give us certainty. A quote from French mathematician and physicist Jules Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912) found in "The Foundations of Science", page 127, The Science Press, 1913. The quote also appears in "Statistically Speaking: A dictionary of quotations" compiled by Carl Gaither and Alma Cavazos-Gaither.

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  • It is better to be satisfied with probabilities than to demand impossibilities and starve. A quote attributed to German philosopher, poet, and dramatist Friedrich Schiller (1759 - 1805). The quote may also be found in "The New Book of Unusual Quotations" by Rudolf Flesch (Harper & Row, 1966)

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  • The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment is a quote by British writer Celia Green (1935 - ) from her book "The Decline and Fall of Science" (Hamilton Ltd., 1976). The quote also appears in "Statistically Speaking: A dictionary of quotations" compiled by Carl Gaither and Alma Cavazos-Gaither.

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  • This activity uses student's own data to introduce bivariate relationship using hand size to predict height. Students enter their data through a real-time online database. Data from different classes are stored and accumulated in the database. This real-time database approach speeds up the data gathering process and shifts the data entry and cleansing from instructor to engaging students in the process of data production.

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  • A cartoon to teach about how researchers usually hope to find differences between treatment and control (or do they?). Cartoon by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.
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  • A judicious man uses statistics, not to get knowledge, but to save himself from having ignorance foisted upon him. A quote of Scottish satirist and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881) from "Chartism, Chapter II" written in 1839. A fuller version of the quote appears in "Statistically Speaking: A dictionary of quotations" compiled by Carl Gaither and Alma Cavazos-Gaither.
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