Components of Experimental Design

Components of Experimental Design

 

Components of Experimental Design- There are three factors in the process that are considered in a designed experiment:

  • Factors, or inputs to the process. Factors can be classified as either controllable or uncontrollable variables. In this case, the controllable factors are the ingredients for the cake and the oven that the cake is baked in. The controllable variables will be referred to throughout the material as factors. Note that the ingredients list was shortened for this example – there could be many other ingredients that have a significant bearing on the end result (oil, water, flavoring, etc). Likewise, there could be other types of factors, such as the mixing method or tools, the sequence of mixing, or even the people involved. People are generally considered a Noise Factor (see the glossary) – an uncontrollable factor that causes variability under normal operating conditions, but we can control it during the experiment using blocking and randomization. Potential factors can be categorized using the¬†available from the Toolbox.
  • Levels, or settings of each factor in the study. Examples include the oven temperature setting and the particular amounts of sugar, flour, and eggs chosen for evaluation.
  • Response, or output of the experiment. In the case of cake baking, the taste, consistency, and appearance of the cake are measurable outcomes potentially influenced by the factors and their respective levels. Experimenters often desire to avoid optimizing the process for one response at the expense of another. For this reason, important outcomes are measured and analyzed to determine the factors and their settings that will provide the best overall outcome for the critical-to-quality characteristics – both measurable variables and assessable attributes.

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