Theory of Experimental Design for Engineers (Online)
Duration 2 days
Team Researcher Academy

This online course is run by the Researcher Academy 

The 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. 


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.

Course Description:

This is an online course held across 2 half days through Teams, on the theory of experimental design. The aim of the course is to understand the theoretical concepts and practicalities behind an experimental design. The course will involve case study examples, individual activities such as quizzes and writing your own protocol, and discussion. It will explain the rationale, motivations and design decisions to be considered prior to an experimental research study. There will also be a small group task to carry out between sessions, which will be started at the end of the first day and completed at the start of the second day. This course is for you if you need to design, implement, or evaluate systems, particularly if you need to run experiments using human participants.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Why do we experiment?
  • What is a research protocol and why is it needed?
  • Research questions: what they are and how to define them, associated factors that influence the experimental design
  • Hypotheses – How to derive and determine them, how they link to the research question and how they may influence the experimental design
  • Variables: Defining and determining independent variables and dependent variables – how to separate them and how they define the experimental design, extraneous variable and confounding variables
  • Measurement: fundamentals of measurement, including reliability issues
  • Sampling: Who to test and how many?
  • Types of experimental design
  • The role of environment and context – Where to test, why and for how long?
  • Writing a research protocol
  • Contingency Plans
  • Results: How analysis guides the experimental design, understanding results via reflecting back to the research questions and hypothesis testing
  • Ethics and Risk assessment

Aims/ Objectives:

The aim of the course is to provide an introduction and a thorough theoretical and practical discussion on designing experimental studies, especially those involving human participants. 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

  • Define your research questions and hypotheses based on previous literature
  • Understand which design is most appropriate for your experimental study
  • Design an experimental study and write up a research protocol
  • Understand the challenges within an experimental design
  • Perform further study independently

Booking Conditions 

Our webinars/ online courses are very popular, especially in the current period and we are experiencing large volumes of people on our waiting lists.  

Please do let us know if you would like to cancel your place on this course so we can offer your place to another delegate. 

Please note, attendances for webinars/ online courses will still be recorded and corresponding training points, when shown as available, will be awarded.   


Accessing the course 

This session may be recorded. If a recording is kept of the session, then please note, that it may be made available to the wider University of Nottingham researcher community.

To access the course please follow the link below and log into Moodle using your normal username and password. You must use the link below when accessing this course for the first time as it allows you to self-enrol onto the course. Make sure that you log in to the course within two days of the course start date, after this date enrolment is disabled. 

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