Category Archives: lecture

Please select ONE of the questions you did NOT do on test and submit to turnitin

Here is your chance to design the perfect experiment. NOT under pressure.  PURELY OPTIONAL.

Select on the questions you did NOT do on the test already.
Prep it. Submit it to Turnitin by Friday Dec 4th by 10pm.
If it is there, I will mark it and replace one of your test question marks for this section ONLY if it goes up. If not, I will not replace.
NO LATE submissions accepted as this is an extra opportunity.


  1. You have some lovely fruit trees in your orchard, and it is important to you to protect your crop from pests. Unlike some other growers, you prefer to not trap out the small mammals (squirrels & rodents) but need to keep the ripening fruit on the tree branches till harvest. The animals can eat the fruit that falls to the ground. You have read that metal flashing wrapped around the trunk prevents animals from climbing up. You have $10,000 you were going to spend on advertising but want to spend on doing an experiment this year with flashing so that you can be organic and animal friendly when you advertise next year. You have three major fruit orchards on your farm, each separated by a 1km, and you have noticed animal activity in all three locations. The growing season is 6 months long, beginning in May and ending in October, and at each location you have approximately 300 trees. The metal flashing is sold in rolls 10 ft wide and 100 feet long. Each roll costs $1000. You have 3 staff, part-time to help you set up experiment. All three locations have fruit trees that are even aged and approximately the same size at 25 feet tall with a trunk diameter at breast height of on average of 3 ft. Please design experiment to determine if metal flashing wrapped around the trunk will work. Also, determine whether the height of placement and width of flashing needed are important considerations. Write a hypothesis, predictions, and the methods with a sketch to show outline of experiment as you are planning on sharing the find in in a local fruit grower publication for others within the region.


  1. You are managing a running race. Design a ‘validation’ experiment to demonstrate that the system you have developed minimizes bias and inaccuracies. You have a limited budget for equipment but many volunteers. In your design, also include best design principles for the volunteers too. Develop a checklist you provide to them. Explain the design but also do a very clear schematic to show the validation design to the race officials to get your race Ontario Track and Field Certified. You do not need a hypothesis and prediction for a validation protocol, but you do need the protocol to very clear and decouple bias from inaccuracy. Ensure you also have redundancy and a checking system in place for races in case one system fails because these competitions are very important qualifying races for potentially professional athletes.


  1. You have decided to do some research contract work after your undergraduate before you make your big career decision. You took an experimental design course and are now confident you can advertise yourself as an expert in design to help out companies. You are also really into the physical training literature and sports. You have secured your first contract with a really innovative gym called P3 that trains many pro-athletes including potential draft recruits for the NBA. As part of the research by the gym, they test really novel training techniques including use of hi-res recordings, electronic muscle stimulation (EMS), and also transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS). Both are basically forms of electrical stimulation of either the muscles or the brain directly and preliminary but accumulating research has shown both can have positive effects on performance. They have hired you to help them use this really expensive equipment they purchased to train athletes but also collect data in a meaningful way to publish and establish their company (gym but they are branding it as a research clinic). Show off what you know here from experimental design using the terms and ideas of avoiding psuedorep, within-subject measures, PPV, how to decide on replication levels, specificity in testing protocols, etc. Remember however, all althletes are paying clients but return many times for training within a single season. Assume they handle approximately 120 athletes pre-season before draft picks, each athlete can visit up to a dozen times over the course of 6 months, and your goal is to design an experiment that tests whether stimulation works. Ensure you test frequency, contrast direct muscle versus brain stim, and whether you need to both. They train only men 17-21 years but they can vary in height from 6ft upwards. Provide a visual outline of the design as well to show to pitch your design to P3.




  1. The global goals are an inspiration. We need them. Design an experiment that can provide evidence of success after 5 years of hard work by a nation for just one of the 17 goals listed. Other researchers will test the remaining goals so ensure your design has some elements of repeatability and that they can compare their findings to yours.
    List your hypothesis, predictions, and include a description of your pilot experiment.   Do this in writing. Clearly state how you are invoking best experimental design principles because your written full grant will be reviewed. You also have to present this to the UN for funding as part of the application process (they want to see if you can also communicate and summarize complexity well). You get only three slides and a few minutes to compete for the funding. Prep three visuals to show during your proposal. I recommend you do one figure showing the hypothesis and prediction clearly in a visual form, one figure showing the design, and one figure showing what you anticipate the outcome of the experiment will generate (i.e. a data visualization plot).


  1. VW likely failed to communicate clearly to the public about TDI cars. Someone within the company programmed a cheat code that allows the car to pass aircare tests. However, when driving, it produces 4-40x above acceptable emissions. Design an experiment to determine the frequency that this cheat was applied to their TDI models (3 different models with TDI engines) for cars currently on the road, test if they are set to cheat including the amount they pollute, and the extent that the cheat activates in testing within each model (i.e. is their sensitivity in the cheat turning on). To be clear, the cheat activates when the cars are put on rollers and only two wheels roll. Develop a hypothesis, predictions, and a very clear design. Include a visual sketch of the experimental design in addition to your description. Anticipate the outcome of your testing by providing a set of data visualization figures from the experiment. VW will likely challenge your findings no matter what you report so ensure you have a robust design you can defend by invoking the ‘best experimental design’ principles from your training.

Turnitin will check for plagiarism so please write it yourself.

Marking keys for grant proposal & then PechaKucha grant proposal

Marking key for grant proposal: total value is 20%
Elements /10%
Background info &Objectives
Outline of experimental design approach-theoretical

Overview /10%
Have you presented a compelling case?
Have you made your hypothesis explicit?
Does your project seem feasible? Is it overly ambitious?
Does it have other weaknesses?
Have you stated the means that grantors can use to evaluate the success of your project after you’ve executed it? This means – have you stated the significance and/or outcome?


Marking key for PechaKucha grant proposal: total value is 10%
Please score each criterion on a Likert scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.
Content /5%
Context described
Experimental Design
Total of 25 score points divided by 5 for percent mark for this particular research product.

Appropriate timing and speaking in time with advancing deck
Speaking clarity
Clarity of slide deck
How likely are you to fund this research?
Quality of responses to questions.
Total of 25 score points divided by 5 for percent mark for this particular research product.


Grant proposal instructions and EXTENSION

Hi Designers.
The one-page grant proposal (instructions below in previous post) with one additional page for references is straight from the NSERC website for MSc students.  So, I am stoked on this an opportunity to get realistic practice on grants.

(1) When NSERC states list ‘theoretical approach’ to be taken – they mean what major theory are you testing.
(2) Once it is written, get someone else to read it. It is only one-page but this really helps.  This leads me to my next idea – extension-help idea!

You will get an AUTOMATIC extension of one full day (Friday Nov 20th, @530pm to IF AND ONLY IF YOU ATTEND LECTURE ON THURSDAY and show Ally and me what you have done so far.

If you do not attend lecture, it is still due on Thursday.


Rationale: I want to help you. Bring your laptop or if you work on a desktop, a print up/outline/draft of whatever you have written. I will spend half the lecture helping you.

The other half of the lecture will be a PechaKucha lecture and sample talk.


Grant proposal writing tips

So many great resources out there!
Remember, you can/should do the same topic you are studying in the lab for your systematic. The goal is to generate a second, USEFUL product from the same research. Become an expert in that topic and propose a cool, new research idea based on the research gaps you have identified.



This is just a plain amazing description of effective grant writing.
UNC Writing Center – Give me the money.

Here is a good resource on considerations for the grant title.

Finally, a good primer on how to write a grant app.

NSERC Master’s Funding instructions

To get funding for one year of a Master’s in Science funded by the Canadian Government at $17, 500 (funding call), you write  a single page!  No kidding.  You get one additional page for your bibliography and that is it. Instructions below.

Outline of Proposed Research from NSERC website:

1. Outline of proposed research (maximum of one page);
Bibliography/citations (maximum of one page).
Provide a detailed description of your proposed research project for the period during which you will hold the award. Be as specific as possible. Provide background information to position your proposed research within the context of the current knowledge in the field. State the objectives and hypothesis, and outline the experimental or theoretical approach to be taken (citing literature pertinent to the proposal), and the methods and procedures to be used. State the significance of the proposed research to a field or fields in the health sciences, natural sciences and/or engineering or social sciences and/or humanities, as appropriate.

Ensure you have a very clear title.

If the output of your degree program is an artistic creation rather than a thesis, indicate clearly the research component of your proposed work. Outline the objectives of your research, the context, methodology, and contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

If your degree program does not involve a thesis, a major research paper/essay, or a major research project, remember to outline clearly the research component of the degree.

If you have not yet decided on a specific project, you must still provide a detailed description of a research project that interests you. You are not bound by this project. You may change your research direction or activities during the course of the award. Certain restrictions may apply. Refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Award Holder’s Guide.

In addition:

Applicants are expected to write their own outline of proposed research independently. Ideas and/or text belonging to others must be properly referenced.
Include all relevant information in the outline.
Do not refer reviewers to URLs or other publications for supplemental information.
In the Outline of Proposed Research, provide the requested information according to the guidelines and format standards outlined in the Presentation Standards.

Presentation Standards

In each section of the Research Portal application, you will find instructions and tips on how to complete your application. All documents uploaded as attachments must be in Portable Document Format (PDF) and must conform to the following presentation standards. See also Transcripts (Attachment) for related presentation standards.

Text must be single-spaced, with no more than six lines per inch.
The acceptable font is Times New Roman (regular, minimum 12-pt.) or a comparable font.
Condensed type is not acceptable.
Set margins at a minimum of 2 cm (3/4 of an inch) all around.
Use a left-justified, standard page layout.
Include your name in the page header on every page.
For multipage attachments, number the pages sequentially.
The maximum number of pages permitted is indicated in each section of the application.
In addition, if you have transcripts or related documentation written in a language other than English or French, you must provide a certified English or French translation.
Applications that do not meet presentation standards may be deemed ineligible, or be at a disadvantage, in comparison with those that respect the presentation standards. Pages in excess of the number permitted will not be assessed by the selection committee.


Test analytics

Hi designers
I popped you each an individual email with your breakdowns.

m = memory
c = concepts
s = synthesis question

Here are some basic analytics:
1. There was no statistical relationship between study time and total test score.

2.  Students scored highest in memory, then concepts, then synthesis  (using the means).  However, this is a bit deceptive.  See plot below. Synthesis answers were the most positively skewed.  A few individuals brought down the mean for that section because they did not complete designing the third question for that section.

3250 test

3. The test is worth 25% so ensure you scale your calculations to that. However, out of 100 points, the median was near 70.

test total