Theory of Experimental Design for Engineers
Duration 2.0 days
Training Units 4.0
Team Researcher Academy

Important course booking guidelines

Researcher Academy courses are very popular and the majority are run in both semesters to give you the opportunity to attend at a time of the year that suits you.Semester 1 courses will be available for booking from the second week of October and Semester 2 courses from the second week of February.

Target audience



Science Postgraduate research students working collaboratively with Engineering may attend.

Please note that this is not a surgery session and will not focus on your specific research problems/issues.





No pre-requisites, the course will cover the basics in the first few hours and some more advanced design concepts as required; some experience of experimental design may be advantageous as well as knowledge of type 1 and 2 errors.



Course Description



This is a 2-day course on theory of experimental design. The aim of the course is to understand the theoretical concepts and practicalities behind an experimental design. The workshop will employ practical exercises, case studies examples and discussions on theories that will explain the rationale, motivations and design decisions to be considered and taken prior to an experimental research study. This course is for you if you need to design, implement and test systems, running experiments and studies such as system requirements and system evaluations.

The course includes the following topics:

1) What is a research protocol and why it is needed

2) Walkthrough of different case studies of research protocols

3) Discussions on determining research questions based on background literature and associated factors that influence the experimental design

4) How to derive and determine the research hypotheses – how they link to the research question and how they may influence the experimental design

5) Principles of sampling – Who to test and how many?

6) The role of environment and context – Where to test, why and for how long?

7) Defining and determining independent variables and dependent variables – how to separate them and how they define the experimental design

8) Discussion on considering and minimising extraneous variables and confounding variables

9) Contingency Plans

10) Types of experimental design

11) Measuring data and reliability issues

12) Analysing data principles (qualitative and quantitative)

13) Understanding results via reflecting back to the research questions and hypothesis testing




The aim of the course is to provide an introduction and a thorough theoretical and practical discussion on designing experimental studies. The attendees should be able to construct a detailed research protocol and design a coherent study which will be able to address their research questions.



By the end of the course you will have a thorough understanding of the theories and practicalities behind designing an experimental study. You will be able to

1) Define your research questions and hypotheses based on previous literature

2) Understand which design is most appropriate for your experimental study

3) Design an experimental study and write up a research protocol

4) Understand the challenges within an experimental design

5) Perform further study independently

Related courses

  • Quantitative Methods for Engineers is a practical workshop on understanding the statistical concepts behind quantitative data.

  • Research and Data Management and Planning course is looking at best practices on managing your time and your research project.

  • Introduction to SPSS is an online course designed to teach you the basics of IBM® SPSS® Statistics.

  • 'Virtual Statistical tutor', an online learning tool for those who are familiar with the basics of data collection and analysis and require more information about statistical methods.

Additionally, help is available from the Methods and Data Institute (MDI): PGRs engaged in empirical research for their PhD thesis can call on the MDI for advice on their choice and use of methods and data. A drop-in session especially for PGRs is available every Tuesday from 2-5pm - appointments must be made for this by emailing


Booking Guidelines


Latecomer policy
Researchers should plan to arrive prior to the advertised course start time. Except for exceptional reasons, there will be no admittance to a Researcher Academy or Faculty Training Programme (FTP) course 15 minutes after the advertised course start time.

Importance of booking commitment
When booking on to a Researcher Academy short course you are entering into a commitment to attend. If you find that you are no longer available to attend you MUST cancel your place (on the system if more than three days before the course or if at short notice by emailing This will ensure that your place can be offered to another researcher on the waiting list. Failure to cancel a place results in other researchers missing out on places through the waiting list process.

It is unacceptable for researchers to just not attend when booked onto a course. Researcher Academy maintains records of those who repeatedly do not attend courses they have booked. This may affect future eligibility to book onto further Researcher Academy courses and will affect considerations for Researcher Academy funded opportunities.


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