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.

Running a Research Session

This chapter provides practical information on what to do when you run a research session. We assume that you have developed your initial experimental design and are now ready to run a pilot study. This chapter is thus about interacting with subjects and the context in which you do that.

There are two main sections, preparing for a session and running the session. Accompanying figures summarize the steps. This chapter also notes other issues that can arise while running a study, including computer simulations (models) as subjects, missing subjects, and other problems.

5.1 Preparing to Run a Research Session

There are several steps for preparing a study. Some of these steps are done much earlier, such as piloting the study to prepare in general, ...

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