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Preparing a Lab Experiment

Several items need to be prepared before staring a lab experiment. This page provides an overview of these items. Use the following checklist each time you prepare in-lab experiments.

Create a Shared Digital Folder

Create a shared folder (e.g., on Box) for all experiment documents and the subject log.

Prepare Computer Programs

You will need to prepare a computer program to run your experiment. Programming is discussed in our Lab Programming Guide, which is currently in progress.

Templates of consent forms, debriefing forms, and Sona descriptions can be found in the relevant IRB folder on the LearningLab share. On consent forms, make sure to change:

  • The name of the experiment (e.g., "Sona #087: Learning Word Pairs") in place of the title of the IRB Protocol (e.g., "Memory and Metacognition")
  • Information about duration and participation (number of credits)

Send Experiment Program(s) to Lab Members to Pilot

After your experimental program is finished, send a link to the program to lab members (undergraduate research assistants, graduate students, and postdocs) so that they can review the program and offer feedback. Be sure to give instructions about what version(s) they should test and what type of details they should pay attention to (in applicable). For undergraduate lab members, attach a copy of the Experiment Piloting Checklist.

Prepare an Experimenter Script

You need a detailed instruction script for experimenters to follow when they run sessions. Script Template

Prepare Other Paper Documents

Remember to prepare any other paper documents you need (for paper-and-pencil tasks).

Prepare Experiment Folder(s)

You will need at least one folder in the lab (keep it in the file cabinet in PRCE 184) for blank consent forms, completed consent forms, debriefing forms, and any other paper documents.

Prepare a Subject Log

You must keep a subject log. A Google Sheet is recommended. At a minimum, the subject log must have each subject number, subject name, and dates of sessions. It is best also to record information about the conditions, counterbalancing order, and notes on each subject.