Experiment Design Protocol
In order to test specific or general theories, ideas, or reported phenomena SPI may conduct experimentation during the course of an investigation or over several investigations depending on the nature or purpose of the experiment.
Is dependent upon the nature of the individual experiment and will be determined at the time the experiment is written.
- Decide what it is you want to test (what is your goal from the experiment)
For example, a standard experiment might be: Do we get better quality EVPs when we only have one person talking?
- Decide what equipment the experiment will require.
In the above example: two people, one digital recorder with external mic.
- Decide on whether the experiment has any special conditions.
For example: for the duration of this experiment, all the lights need to be out and the AC needs to be off.
- Decide on a duration. (from minutes to the course of several investigations)
In this case, no less than 30 minutes, no more than 1 hour.
- Decide on any special protocols for the experiment.
For example, during this experiment no one but the questioner will speak. The questioner will read from a prepared list of questions.
- Decide on what success criteria the experiment has.
For example: a successful EVP should appear to answer one of the questions, or make a clear demand of the investigators.
- Post the experiment on the forum so it can be worked into the investigation plan. (Please see the procedures for writing experiments)
- On the night, remind everyone that it is taking place and announce it clearly for any locked off equipment in the same area as the experiment itself
- To be determined according to the nature of the specific experiment.
- Experimental data collection/recording will be dependent upon the nature of the experiment.
Specific Experimental data will be discussed on it's own in the investigation report and ongoing experiments will have a dedicated database for monitoring, comparison and interpretation.
Procedure for Writing Experiments
Write an Experiment
Once you have designed your experiment you need to formally present it in a protocol.
A protocol is simply a recipe, or written design, for performing the experiment.
You must write a protocol to insure that you have both a clear idea of how you will do the experiment and that you will have all the materials that are needed. A scientist usually writes his/her protocol in a laboratory notebook. Following the completion of the protocol, the next step in the scientific process is to perform the experiment. As the investigation takes place, observations are made and results are recorded.
Components of an Experimental Protocol
- Purpose: This is a formal statement which encompasses your hypothesis. It is a statement of what question you are trying to answer and what hypothesis you wish to test.
- Materials: List all major items needed to carry out your experiment. This list need not be lengthy if the materials are already published, but it should include the essentials.
- Methods: How will you set up your experiment? How many experimental groups will you have? How will you measure the effect you wish to study? How long will the experiment last? These and any other methods should be explicitly stated or referenced so that a reader has all the information they need to know to be able to repeat your experiment and verify your results.
- Controls: Identify the relevant control(s) treatment. Think about the variable(s) you and your group are manipulating. Your control needs to be held under natural, or unmanipulated conditions, not affected by the tested variable.
- Data Interpretation: What will be done with the data once it is collected? Data must be organized and summarized so that the scientist himself, and other researchers can determine if the hypothesis has been supported or negated. Results are usually shown in tables and graphs (figures). Statistic analyses are often made to compare experimented and controlled populations.
- References: Any published works (journals, books, websites) that you cite in your protocol should be listed in the reference section so that anyone reading your protocol can look that work up if they desire.
Putting this all together, the scientist will be able to write a scientific paper once his/ her data is collected. Remember do not write "fluff," i.e., extraneous information and/or overly descriptive text that is not relevant to the experiment. The reader of a protocol is interested in being informed concisely and accurately!