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The Genesis Of An Experiment

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.525.1 - 4.525.21

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Paper Authors

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Donald V. Richardson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3226

THE GENESIS OF AN EXPERIMENT or The Framework of Experimental Development

Donald V. Richardson, Emeritus Waterbury State Technical College, Connecticut

Abstract Every experiment, when performed for the first time, is done in order to further develop a sci- ence, or technology to enhance military or civilian equipment. This paper shows that experiments into unknown territory always use the same fundamental steps, regardless of if or how they are named. When these experiments are repeated as student work, sometimes these steps are only implied. Instruction delivered by computer simulation frequently ignores most of these steps. I. INTRODUCTION While computer simulations of experimental processes can be valuable because they save time and allow greater progress in limited class time, both professors and students must recognize and understand the essential steps of an experiment as detailed below. Class discussion should ex- plore these steps at the beginning of a course. The seven essential steps of any experiment are: a.) PROBLEM: Recognizing a need to either find answers to a new situation or further de- velop a field of study. b.) DESIGN: The experimental apparatus and procedure visualized to accomplish the desired result whether using standard instruments and apparatus or something entirely new. c.) DATA: The records which document the experimental procedure. These may be written, recorded, photographed, or researched from old records; whether quantitative or subjec- tive. d.) INTERPRETATION: Selecting, sorting, filtering, and reducing the mass of raw experi- mental data to expose consistent results. e.) DECISION: Determining the next step to resolve the original problem, or determining if the experimental results are acceptable. f.) IMPLEMENTATION: Redesigning the test apparatus or modifying the experimental ap- proach as required to test the newly formulated experimental hypothesis. g.) REPORT: Publishing the experimental results in the required format, whether as a for- mally published scientific journal article, a student lab report or a report document pre- pared for the sponsoring agency. 1

Richardson, D. V. (1999, June), The Genesis Of An Experiment Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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