Experimentation

When comes the time to actually run the experiment you have been working towards for so long it is incredibly exciting. You set up the room and prepare for the first participants to come. At this point I am usually a little be nervous too because you want everything to go smoothly and despite your preparations and pre-test the best thing for finding any kinks is just doing it. Usually everything works out fine but maybe you find something that needs a slight tweak. (For example, a wording for directions which has been clear for everyone who has been working on or at least has knowledge of your experiment is a little unclear to fresh eyes). Quickly you fall into the pattern of the procedure and it feels perfectly normal. Each session of experimentation is pretty much the same. Occasionally there is a computer problem or a participant has a question or a participant doesn’t show up but these are small blips in a standard and that is how you want it to be. You want the conditions to be as close to exactly the same as is humanly possible when running different people on different days. There is some amount of variability that is impossible to get rid of entirely but a good experiment requires the trials to be nearly indistinguishable. Of course what makes for a good experiment does not necessarily make for exciting time. Doing the same thing multiple times a day all week long can get dull and all you can really do is hope that the data you are getting is what you want it to be.