Resource Materials for the Biology Core Courses ----------------------------------------------Bates College

Experimental Design Worksheet


Here is a simple worksheet to help plan your experimental designs for this and other PI labs. Some of the items indicated will be totally foreign for the moment, that's OK, they will become part of your repetoire of tools in the near future. A copy of this will be distributed on e-mail to facilitate interchange of ideas between you and your lab instructor. You can also COPY this text and PASTE it into an email document.

1. What is the question/problem you want to investigate? What is your testable hypothesis? What is/are your expected outcome(s) if your hypothesis is supported?



2. What DATA do you need to obtain in order to test your hypothesis? Indicate units of the actual measurements and also how the data would be summarized and/or normalized (i.e., mean ± SD, %, mm/sec, etc.).



3. What is/are the TREATMENT(S)? Be specific with quantitative parameters (concentrations, etc.). Give some thought here as to what kind of statistical analysis you'll perform. It is prudent to make sure you can analyze the data later using routine statistics.)




4. What is/are your CONTROL(S) for the variable(s) being tested? What will each control tell you?




5. What is one REPLICATE in your experiment? How many replicates (e.g., measurements, observations, trials) in each treatment level and control will there be? Consider how long it takes to get one observation and how much time you have.



6. Outline the step by step procedure you'll use to obtain a single measurement or observation, and be sure to specify all the quantitative parameters (how much, how long, when, what dose, etc.) and the equipment used for each step. This must be precise and clear enough that anyone can do it with a consistent level of accuracy and complete enough for anyone to replicate your experiment with comparable equipment.





7. How will your data be summarized, analysed, and presented? Show relevant calculations (e.g., normalization of data, etc.) and indicate the statistical tests you'll employ. For graphic presentation, indicate the type of graph and the variables to be plotted. For Prism users, consider how the data sheet will be set up to facilitate analysis of the data.







8. State any assumptions you are making in doing this experiment and justify them, i.e., explain your rationale for making them. How will know if your assumptions are not met?




9. List all materials you will need that have not been provided already.



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Updated 8-29-05

Department of Biology, Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240