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?

Yes, this is my main goal.

how good is the interface? If there's something horrible in it, then the interference from that will drown every other effect.

The experiment is exactly on the interface: a visual interface based on Scratch by MIT (what I claim is the easiest programming environment ever designed so far).

good experimenters used to run at least two pilot studies before starting the main study, to ensure that all the shallow problems were ironed out.

This is an excellent way of setting up the experiment. I will try to follow it for sure in the future. For now, due to the urgent set up, I will have to skip this step.

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.

Instructions are given in four 2-hours seminars (we are simulating a minicourse on the subject, based on the new tool). Students are expected to take part to all seminars to be taken into account in the evalutation. The control group will have the exact same lessons by using the usual programming tool used in the past years.

Does this sound reasonable?


Stefano Federici
Università degli Studi di Cagliari
Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione
Dipartimento di Scienze Pedagogiche e Filosofiche
Via Is Mirrionis 1, 09123 Cagliari, Italia
Cell: +39 349 818 1955 Tel.: +39 070 675 7815
Fax: +39 070 675 7113

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