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Our parents’ top tips on planning experiments

Since April last year, we’ve had around 2000 citizen scientist parents planning, designing and running experiments into the areas of parenthood and childhood that matter to them. They’ve done a lot of their own research and collaborated with established scientists. In doing so they’ve answered their own questions, but they’ve also learned a lot about how to do an experiment.

“There are so many different ways to try to answer the same question. A group of people from different backgrounds working together will come up with new and interesting approaches that a homogeneous bunch of researchers might miss.” PSG parent

So we asked them, what advice would you give to another group who were just starting to plan their experiments?

Here are their top tips:

  • Be practical, stay involved, it will be worth it!
  • Decide on your main objective before doing anything else. What do you really want to know / test?
  • Don’t underestimate how long planning and execution take! Ethical approval can take four weeks.
  • Don’t make it too complicated – try to settle on one simple question, rather than several. It will help you focus your testing.
  • Don’t stay in the discussion phase too long. Come to decisions quickly and get on with it!
  • Be realistic and play to your strengths


Photo credit: Ilya Ilford on Unsplash

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