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STA3300 Experimental Design

Semester 1, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Maths and Computing
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Shahjahan Khan
Moderator: Rachel King


Pre-requisite: STA2300 or approval of examiner


The proper design, implementation and analysis of results of experiments are of vital importance in many disciplines. The validity and reliability of research findings can be severely compromised if a poor design or experimental procedure is followed. This course introduces principles of good design in experiments and discusses appropriate methods of analysis of planned experiments. This course has relevance to all students involved in or planning to be involved in experimental projects, especially students in the general science disciplines. Previous statistical knowledge to the level of STA2300 Data Analysis only is assumed.


This course covers principles of design such as randomisation, replication, factorial arrangement and blocking. Practical experience is gained in designing, carrying out, analysing and writing up the results of an experimental study. Methods of analysis are discussed and practiced, mainly on computer. The emphasis is on general principles of design and analysis rather than in describing the details of particular design layouts. Consideration is given to assumption checking, robustness, prior and posterior analysis, contrasts, confounding, covariates, error control and reduction, and interpretation of results.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. recognise the need for and implement procedures for randomisation;
  2. recognise the importance of factorial arrangements and replication;
  3. recognise the advantages and disadvantages of blocking;
  4. analyse a data set in an appropriate fashion using a computer package;
  5. interpret the results of an analysis in everyday terms.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Data Screening - introduction to a computer package - exploratory and preliminary analysis - descriptive and graphical tools - transformations 10.00
2. Inference - hypothesis testing and p values - estimation and confidence intervals - comparative experiments, independent and dependent samples - linear regression, dummy variables 10.00
3. Introduction to experimentation - observational v experimental studies - causality and association - validity - some design principles 10.00
4. Completely randomised designs with one factor - experimental procedure - principle of randomisation - modelling the data - analysis of variance and interpretation - descriptive techniques - residual analysis - nonparametric techniques 15.00
5. Analytic comparisons - contrasts, simple and complex - planned and unplanned comparisons - multiple comparisons and error rates - Newman-Keuls range tests 15.00
6. Balanced factorial experiments - principles of factorial arrangement- descriptive techniques- main and interaction effects- multiway analysis of variance- estimation of effects- model fitting 15.00
7. Blocking- principle of error reduction- single and multifactor arrangements- random and fixed effects - calculation of expected mean squares - components of variance 15.00
8. Regression Analysis - analysis and interpretation- analysis of covariance- trend analysis 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Introductory Book 2013, Course STA3300 Experimental Design, included in the course CD.
  • Selected Readings 2013, Course STA3300 Experimental Design, included in the course CD.
  • Study Book 2013, Course STA3300 Experimental Design, included in the course CD.
  • SPSS Windows Software, Prentice Hall. Student Version 19.0 for Windows (Version 15.0 or later is acceptable) available through USQ Bookshop.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Box, G E P, Hunter, W G & Hunter, J S 1978, Statistics for Experimenters: An Introduction to Design, Data Analysis, and Model Building, Wiley, New York.
    (001.424 Box.)
  • Coakes, S J, Steed, L G & Ong, C 2009, SPSS: Analysis without Anguish, John Wiley & Sons, Australia.
    (Version 16.0 for Windows 005.36 Coa.)
  • Hicks, C R 1999, Fundamental Concepts in the Design of Experiments, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, New York.
    (001.434 Hic.)
  • Mason, R L, Gunst, R F & Hess, J L 2003, Statistical Design and Analysis of Experiments with Applications to Engineering and Science, 2nd edn, Wiley, New York.
    (519.5 Mas.)
  • Maxwell, S E & Delaney, H D 2003, Designing Experiments and Analysing Data: A Model Comparison Perspective, 2nd edn, Wadsworth, Belmont.
    (519.53 Max.)

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 20.00
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 28.00
Private Study 90.00
Tutorials 28.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 100 10 22 Mar 2013
ASSIGNMENT 2 100 15 26 Apr 2013
ASSIGNMENT 3 100 15 17 May 2013
PROJECT PROPOSAL 0 0 24 May 2013
PROJECT 100 20 21 Jun 2013
2 HR RESTRICTED EXAM 100 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to Examination timetable when published.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete an assessment item satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for that assessment item. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in the course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment will apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Restricted Examination, candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); calculators. Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so from the Examiner.

  2. The referencing system to be used in this course is supported by the Department. Information on this referencing system and advice on how to use it can be found in the course materials.