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STA3300 Experimental Design

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Experimental Design
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 010103 - Statistics
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 20 May 2019


Examiner: Taryn Axelsen


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 different methods of analysis of planned experiments which require the use of an appropriate statistical package. This course has relevance to all students involved in or planning to be involved in experimental projects, especially students in the general science and engineering 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. The emphasis is on general principles of design and analysis of experimental data rather than in describing the details of particular design layouts. Consideration is given to checking of assumptions and quality of data, robustness, prior and posterior analysis, contrasts, confounding, covariates, error control and reduction, and interpretation of results. Practical experience is gained in designing, carrying out, analysing and writing up the report from the results of an experimental study. Methods of analysis and different models are discussed and practised, mainly using the SPSS software package.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Identify and examine the principles and assumptions of a variety of experimental designs.
  2. Evaluate the quality of data including underlying statistical assumptions.
  3. Apply and analyse various statistical models appropriate for experimental data sets using a statistical package.
  4. Communicate experimental analysis and results using appropriate statistical terminology for a wider audience.
  5. Independently develop and conduct an experiment and appropriately report results.


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, model assumptions. 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. (

All additional study material will be provided on the course StudyDesk.
IBM SPSS STATISTICS BASE GRAD PACK VERSION 23.0 (SPSS Version 20.0 or later is acceptable) (Note: On-campus students have access to this software in campus computer laboratories and are not required to purchase SPSS).

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 2005, Statistics for Experimenters: Design, Innovation, and Discovery, 2nd edn, Wiley, New York.
Coakes, S J 2013, SPSS: Analysis without Anguish, John Wiley & Sons, Australia.
(Version 20.0 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.)
Kirk, Roger, E 2013, Experimental Design: Procedures for the Behavioral Sciences, 4th edn, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
(300.724 Kir.)
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 2017, Designing Experiments and Analyzing Data: A Model Comparison Perspective, 3rd edn, Wadsworth, Belmont.
(519.53 Max.)

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 22.00
Online Lectures 26.00
Online Tutorials 26.00
Private Study 98.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 100 20 18 Apr 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 100 20 16 May 2019
PROJECT PROPOSAL 0 0 23 May 2019
PROJECT 100 20 18 Jun 2019
2HR 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 participate appropriately in all activities 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.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  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 which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination); Formula sheets and/or Statistical Tables as provided by the Examiner with the examination paper. 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

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

  2. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in this course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect the same grades as those students who do possess them.