Design of experiments

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In general usage, design of experiments (DOE) or experimental design is the design of any information-gathering exercises where variation is present, whether under the full control of the experimenter or not. However, in statistics, these terms are usually used for controlled experiments. Other types of study, and their design, are discussed in the articles on opinion polls and statistical surveys (which are types of observational study), natural experiments and quasi-experiments (for example, quasi-experimental design). See Experiment for the distinction between these types of experiments or studies.

In the design of experiments, the experimenter is often interested in the effect of some process or intervention (the "treatment") on some objects (the "experimental units"), which may be people, parts of people, groups of people, plants, animals, materials, etc. Design of experiments is thus a discipline that has very broad application across all the natural and social sciences.

Contents

History of development

Controlled experimentation on scurvy

In 1747, while serving as surgeon on HM Bark Salisbury, James Lind carried out a controlled experiment to develop a cure for scurvy.[1]

Lind selected 12 men from the ship, all suffering from scurvy, and divided them into six pairs, giving each group different additions to their basic diet for a period of two weeks. The treatments were all remedies that had been proposed at one time or another. They were:

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