MAS3908 : Experimental Design

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To introduce students to the idea that statistical thinking is not confined to the analysis of data but is vital to the way that scientific and other experiments are planned.

Module summary
It is well-known that experiments underpin much laboratory science and medicine, where clinical trials are a form of experiment involving human subjects. The approach is also used in areas less readily associated with experiments: industrial process industries have used them for many years and many web-based activities are just starting to exploit the experimental method. While the use of experiments is widely appreciated, the range and potential of different types of design, and their correct analysis, is not as widely disseminated. The course will describe the basic ideas of statistical design and introduce some of the more commonly used designs, together with the appropriate methods of analysis.

Outline Of Syllabus

Idea and role of randomization in treatment estimation, including use in clinical trials. Role of sample size in experimentation and sample size calculations (two group case only). Methods of randomization and the role of Bayesian ideas.

Potential confounding factors and use of blocking and randomization to allow for them. Need for correct analysis. Randomized block designs and their analysis, using matrix formulation and link with ANOVA. The idea of efficiency. More complex blocking patterns, including Latin squares and incomplete blocks. Treatment structures such as factorial designs.

Use of experiments in an industrial context and the use of D-optimality.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Problem classes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Revision lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00Formal lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Class test
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion113:0013:00Revision for unseen exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Unseen exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery120:102:00Office hours
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study119:0019:00Studying, practising and gaining understanding of course material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study33:009:00Review of written assignments and class test
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study112:0012:00Preparation for class test
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study26:0012:00Preparation for written assignments
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Problem Classes are used to help develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. Tutorials are used to identify and resolve specific queries raised by students and to allow students to receive individual feedback on marked work. In addition, office hours (two per week) will provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer: a typical student might spend a total of one or two hours over the course of the module, either individually or as part of a group.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A90N/A
Written Examination402M5Class test
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M5Two written assignments
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The assignments are expected to consist of two assignments of equal weight: the exact nature of assessment will be explained at the start of the module. The exercises and the class test allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

Reading Lists