What are the challenges involved in designing a formal experiment?

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An experiment is conducted to study the effect of variation in one (or more) variable on another variable. The variable that is varied is known as the independent variable. A formal experiment needs to have a defined aim or objective, hypothesis statement, identified variables, and a control group or sample....

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An experiment is conducted to study the effect of variation in one (or more) variable on another variable. The variable that is varied is known as the independent variable. A formal experiment needs to have a defined aim or objective, hypothesis statement, identified variables, and a control group or sample. An experiment is supposed to yield some data which, upon analysis, is expected to help us test the hypothesis. 

The common challenges that are faced in design of formal experiment include identification of variables, sample selection, control of other parameters, selection of a control sample or group, hypothesis formation and testing, etc. An efficient experimenter also needs to remove any human or machine error, including bias.

One of the big challenges of a formal experiment is that it should "work." Speaking from personal experience, experiment will often not work due to uncontrolled variables or will not yield significant data, etc. An experimenter needs to account for all of that in his/her design.

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