How deeply do you want to go into this?
1) If you're trying to set up balanced groups for a study, then you
only need to know about factors that will give a sizeable noise level
if they are not balanced across groups. That's what I thought you
wanted to do, am I right?
2) If you want to know what the state of knowledge is about factors
that might, possibly, have some relationship to learning to program,
even if only a small one, then it's a whole different question. I
would recommend looking at work by Mark Eisenstadt on 'everyday
programming' (or some similar title), at a big review by John Pane,
and at a whole heap of material on Logo. But that's a big big review
If you're sticking with (1), you can stop worrying so much. Some few
years ago Jarinee Chatatrichart found that of a very large number of
possible factors that she studied, the only one with a significant
contribution was whether people had used Lego blocks when they were
little. And even that didn't have much effect.
Much better to worry about whether you've designed the experiment
right. For example, how good is the interface? If there's something
horrible in it, then the interference from that will drown every other
effect. Really good experimenters, like Patricia Wright, used to run
at least two pilot studies before starting the main study, to ensure
that all the shallow problems were ironed out.
Also, how good are the instructions? Make SURE that people can
understand them. Get people to read them and explain them back to you.
Anything they find hard, REWRITE IT.
So that's I recommend you to do. Run two people in each condition of
your study, then TALK TO THEM and ask what they found hard. Then FIX
IT. Then do it again until they stop complaining about little things
that you hadn't intended to be problems.
On 18 Mar 2011, at 16:45, Stefano Federici wrote:
I see. But don't you think that, among those people that don't know
anything about programming, someone being very good at punctuation
could perform better at programming? I'm thinking to the classical
Logo example to draw a square:
73 Huntington Rd, York YO31 8RL
The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity
in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).