Experimentation : summing up



Experimentation  (^)

Experimentation is the performing of an Experiment, that is a tightly controlled and highly structured observation of variables.


Previous Documentation about and Observation of the problem situation offer substantial clues concerning the selection of the variables involved in the Experiment and the role they will (might) play.



Experiment  (^)



Experiment  (^)


The aspects here considered refer to:

  • Elements

  • Types
  • Steps

  • Requirements

Experiment : elements  (^)

An experiment consists of the following elements:

  • E = Experimenter
  • Ss = Subjects

  • Os = Objects

  • X (Subject or Object) = Independent Variable (presumed cause)

  • Y (Subject or Object) = Dependent Variable (presumed effect)

  • Zs (Subjects or Objects) = External Variables (the problem situation)

Experiment : types  (^)

Experiments can be performed on :

  • One group (of subjects/objects) - different periods of time :

      Pre-experiment (observed before exposed to the independent variable)

      Post-experiment (observed after exposed to the independent variable)

  • Two groups (of subjects/objects) - same period of time :

       EG (experimental group, exposed to the independent variable)

       CG (control group, not exposed to the independent variable)

Experiment : steps  (^)

An experiment requires the carrying out of the following basic steps :

  • List Subjects/Objects relevant to the experiment

  • Set up the scene for the experiment to take place

  • Manipulate the independent variable (X)

  • Hold constant or keep under control the external variables (Zs)

  • Keep under scrutiny the dependent variable (Y)

Experiment : requirements  (^)

An experiment can be ineffective because of the following faults:

  • Wrong choice of variables (e.g. the variables chosen are not central but peripheral to the problem)

  • Undetected role of some variables (e.g. there are variables not taken into account that play a major role)

  • Unperceived role of some variables (e.g. some variables are not properly perceived during the experiment)

To avoid this, what is required is a:

  • careful selection of Central Variables (requisite : good theory)

  • exhaustive selection of Key Variables (requisite : good documentation)

  • correct detection of Main Variables (requisite : good perception)



Experimentation : summing up  (^)

Experimentation is a very fruitful way to gather Information on which to base an Argument

In conjunction with Documentation and Observation, Experimentation should provide the relevant Information that is the essential support for Explanation.


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