Running Behavioral Experiments With Human Participants: A Practical Guide provides a concrete, practical roadmap for the implementation of experiments and controlled observation using human participants. Covering both conceptual and practical issues critical to implementing an experiment, the book is organized to follow the standard process in experiment-based research, covering such issues as potential ethical problems, risks to validity, experimental setup, running a study, and concluding a study.

The detailed guidance on each step of an experiment is ideal for those in both universities and industry who have had little or no previous practical training in research methodology. The book provides example scenarios to help readers organize how they run experimental studies and anticipate problems, and example forms that can serve as effective initial “recipes.” Examples and forms are drawn from areas such as cognitive psychology, human factors, human-computer interaction, and human-robotic interaction.

Preparation for Running Experiments

Joining the lab as a new research assistant, you have come to help out and to learn in this area, specifically with running research studies. What do you do? Where do you start? How do you avoid common and easily fixed problems? This chapter describes how to get started. Figure 2.1 illustrates how the preparation process discussed in this chapter fits the overall structure outlined in Figure 1.1.

Consider briefly a usability study evaluating a haptic (touch-based input or output) interface. For this investigation, a lead research scientist or a lead researcher would establish a study hypothesis and design an experiment by first defining what to measure (dependent variables), what factors to manipulate (independent variables), and what environmental conditions to consider. This ...

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