What is an experiment?

Presentation Title Goes Design Principles of ExperimentalHere
…presentation subtitle.
Violeta Bartolome Senior Associate Scientist-Biometrics Crop Research Informatics Laboratory International Rice Research Institute

Experiment is an activity undertaken to solve a particular problem or question, to retain or falsify a hypothesis concerning a phenomenon.

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Design of an Experiment
• • Includes the set of treatments selected for comparison Specifies the subjects or experimental units to which the treatments will be applied Gives the rules by which the treatments are allocated to the experimental units Indicates the measurements to be made Indicates the analyses to be done to meet the objectives

Objective of experimental design
To ensure that measurements made on experimental units are: 1. Free from bias 2. Precise 3. Scientifically valid – valid experimental designs and procedures

• •

Forward

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Bias
The consistent deviation of analytical results from the "true" value caused by systematic errors in a procedure.

Precision
The closeness with which results of replicate analyses of a sample agree. It is a measure of dispersion or scattering around the mean value

Biased, high precision
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Unbiased, low precision

Unbiased, high precision

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Precision is achieved through
Two sets of data: Set I – Set II 2 5 9 13 12 12 25 10
• • • • Uniform experimental units Careful conduct of all operations before and during the experiment More replicates Appropriate experimental design

Which set would have a more precise estimate of the mean?

back

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Experimental Unit
• Unit of experimental material to which a treatment is applied. • Example: single leaf, a whole plant, an area of land containing many plants, a pot or a bench in the greenhouse, a single animal, several animals, or an entire herd.

Treatment
• Dosage of material or a method that is to be tested in the experiment. • Example: crop variety, fertilizer level, or a management practice.

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Factors and levels of treatments
• Factors - variables that the experimenter varies in the experiment • Levels - various quantities or aspects of a given factor

Control
• Included in the experiment to assess what would happen if the experimental manipulation had not been performed • Example: no fertilizer application, no weed control, farmer’s variety

Factors variety fertilizer water stress

Levels IR64, Peta, IR8 0, 30, 60, 90 N kg/ha well watered, stressed

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Treatment effect
expected increase or decrease in response to treatment application Variety Hybrid Local Pesticide application without with Varietal effect on yield 6 t/ha 3 t/ha
varietal effect is the “increase” in yield of the hybrid over the local check

Choice of treatment
• Dependent on questions researcher wants to be answered. • May be chosen at random from all possible levels of application or purposely selecting levels to be included.

Effect on insect population 75 10
treatment effect is the “decrease” in insect population when pesticide is applied

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N

H0 2

H0 2

Experiment: Compare Variety A and Variety B Hypothesis: Objective: Yield of new rice Variety A will be higher than the traditional Variety B. To test the hypothesis that the new rice Variety A will out yield the traditional Variety B.

Variety A

Variety B

4 tons

3.5 tons

How should this be done?
With all inputs the same, can you say that Variety A is higher yielding than Variety B?
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N

Chances are you will not get the same yield because of random or experimental error or unexplained variation.

What is Experimental Error
• • • Not an error in the sense of being wrong Defined as the differences among experimental units treated alike It can be minimized but never totally eliminated. There will always be some variations that cannot be controlled

Variety A

Variety A

Will you get the same yield?
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When is a treatment effect significant?
A B A A

When is “D”, the observed yield difference, considered significant?
-- if D is substantially greater than E, then D is significant Subjective Objective (no bias) Statistical tests

4.0 tons

3.5 tons

4.0 tons

4.1 tons

D = yield difference between A and B (treatment effect)

E = yield difference between same variety (experimental error)

D = 0.5

E = 0.1

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Effect of experimental error in statistical tests ERROR
Small
Chance of detecting treatment difference

How do you measure experimental error?

By Replication
• repeat treatment two or more times • have a more precise estimate of treatment

LARGE

LARGE
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Small
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An experiment involving 4 water management treatments in 3 replications is to be conducted. Layout is shown below:
T2 T4 T3 T1

T2

T1 T3 T4

T4 T1 T3

T2 T4 T2
8m 9m

CRD
9m 8m

T1 T3

At harvest, the plot is divided into 3 parts to correspond to 3 replications as shown below:
T2 T4 T3 T1

Rep I
9m

NO! replicates are not independent.

RCB
Rep II Rep III
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T4 T1 T2

T3 T3 T1

T1 T2 T4

T2 T4 T3
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9m

8m

Are these “true” replications?
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8m

B B

A A

Randomization
• assignment of treatments to experimental plots so that experimental units have an equal chance of receiving any treatment • ensures unbiased estimate of treatment means and experimental error • assures validity of the statistical tests

fertility gradient
• Plots planted to A have a higher level of productivity than plots planted to B. • Comparison between yield performances of A and B would be biased in favor of A. • To avoid bias treatments should be randomized.
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REPLICATION • provides an estimate of the experimental error

Error Control
Ways to minimize or reduce experimental error?

RANDOMIZATION
• •

o o o o

Increase number of replication Blocking Use of appropriate experimental design Rigorous control of measurement and field plot techniques

ensures that the estimates are unbiased ensures validity of statistical tests

end

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Blocking
assigning similar or uniform experimental units into a “block”

Direction of source of variation is known
Block1 Block2
Low

Block3

Block4

High

Block perpendicular to the source of variation
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Direction of source of variation is unknown
Block1 Block2

Two known sources of variation in perpendicular directions
Direction of fertility gradient

Block3

Block4

Direction of water gradient

• •

Use compact blocks Avoid using long and narrow blocks
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Proper experimental design must include

• Replication • Randomization • Error Control

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