Scientists Beware! Deadly Sins That Can Sabotage Your Experiments

October 20, 2023 Maaz 0 Comments

Don’t let your experiments fall prey to any of these common pitfalls! With a little foresight and vigilance, you can ensure that your research is conducted with utmost care.

1. Making the Same Mistake as a Previous Experimenter

If we remain true to our past experiences, then it would not be surprising if we repeated what has been proven successful in the past. This can lead us astray – because it’s likely that whatever strategy or approach seems like a sure thing will not yield desired results; users may even perceive this experiment as pointless!

Therefore, in order to avoid these pitfalls while design and running experiments, one must be vigilant against making the same mistake as an earlier experimenter.

2. Not Considering the Context of an Experiment

In light of the above considerations, it should come as no surprise that researchers must also be cognisant of the context in which an experiment is taking place. We may be conducting experiments in a laboratory setting or exploring a hypothesis from scratch, but we must still be mindful of all factors to consider when designing and executing our projects; failure to do so may lead to misleading results!

While this may not seem like much, a little forethought can go a long way toward ensuring that your experimental design is an effective one. Ultimately, attention must be paid towards ensuring that the settings – along with any constraints imposed upon the study – are taken into consideration when designing experiments.

3. Ignoring the Power of Suggestion in Scientific Investigation

There are occasions when a subject’s expectations can alter their behavior or responses to an experiment – which can have an effect on the results of an investigation.

For instance, let’s say you were curious about how people would react to a new scent that was being launched in your fragrance store. You may choose to conduct an experiment where participants are asked to smell the scent within their nostrils; however if some of those individuals were aware of what was about to occur next (e.g. sniffing one out before putting it on) then their reactions will undoubtedly be more intense than those who take things by surprise and are not familiar with the odors they are experiencing.

4. Not Knowing How to Measure Effectiveness of an Experimental Variable

The efficacy of your experiment can be compromised if you do not measure the effects of one or more experimental variables. This is especially true if those variables are crucial to determining whether the results achieved were significant.

If, for instance, I wished to test whether playing a specific video game was capable of fostering feelings of euphoria in players; then it would be essential that I observe any changes within their physiological responses and behavior patterns.

5. Not Being Realistic about the Limitations of Scientific Investigations

An experiment is only as effective as the extent to which it adheres to reality. It may be difficult to design a study that will yield conclusive results; however, being realistic in assessments and limitations can help ensure that any success attained during the endeavor is commensurate with its importance.

To avoid overreaching, it is prudent to define a series of benchmarks along the way. Does your investigation truly demand that you gather both positive and negative data? If so, how many total trials should be conducted before declaring success?

How do you conceive of an experimental design for an occasion when your requirements are not sufficiently clear-cut? If there isn’t enough information readily available on which to base one’s assumptions, then it may be wise to choose an option from among those already made available by past researchers.

6. Failing to Control or Exclude Other Pertaining Variables in an Experiment

Sometimes, an experiment may be designed to reveal one answer or perhaps capture just a single variable; however, humans aren’t rational beings. Depending on the circumstance and type of research being undertaken, there are many other factors that can come into play when designating variables within a study – some which could potentially have an impact on its outcome.

For instance, if you are conducting a study in order to identify optimal packaging material for food products, it is possible that you might inadvertently overlook something such as temperature and humidity when drawing up your hypotheses. If this were the case then another variable known as environment might come into play – making it necessary to include both aspects along with packaging choice in order to yield meaningful data!

7. Using Too Many Variables in an Experiment That Delegates Correlation Failures

Our experience in the real world so often forms a basis for our decisions. In order to draw valid conclusions from an experiment, it is essential to carefully select which variable you wish to examine; otherwise, you could inadvertently yield an erroneous interpretation of your findings. For example – if I choose to focus on physical exercise as a means of managing anxiety levels- then one might assume that this leads directly to an enhanced sense of well-being and decreased anxiousness! However – if there are other variables involved (such as familial upbringing) then this could potentially result in a misleading correlation; therefore necessitating more careful investigation before arriving at any definitive conclusions.

This problem of oversampling or under sampling can be exacerbated by various design features. For instance, if you utilize randomized experiments then a high number of observations may be required before drawing any meaningful conclusions about your results; whereas if you opt for control groups or place participants under conditions where they cannot influence their experiences then fewer observations may be required before reaching consensus on what has been observed thus far.

The rule of thumb here is simple: don’t undertake too many experiments at once.

8. Choosing the Wrong Experimental Design

Just because an experiment appears to afford you many options, it doesn’t necessarily imply that the most appropriate option has been selected. Sometimes, an array of choices simply renders choosing between them rather arduous!

In this case, you’ll be surprised to discover that your results can vary widely when selecting your design or conducting your experiments. For instance, in a recent study from Stanford University researchers Daniela Hanesová and Marián Škrabicíková underline that although there are numerous possible designs for experiments such as crossover trials or factorials one should always be mindful of which variant is chosen – lest unanticipated consequences arise!

9. Being Too Hasty in Reporting Results of an Experiment

Sometimes, unexpected findings arise from an experiment. These can motivate further investigation and provide valuable insights into a topic that may not have been considered before.

However, if such revelations exceed expectations or fall short of what you had envisioned earlier in the process then it could prove detrimental to your research. For instance, failing to foresee how an experiment might yield results beyond one’s expectations could lead researchers to prematurely give up on their efforts – leading to a potentially erroneous conclusion about the efficacy of their experiments!

On occasion, scientists will rush to explore their findings before fully comprehending those initial data points. This can be problematic, particularly when dealing with complex subjects such as drug development where each new metric could yield information vital for advancing research into novel therapeutic agents.

10. Not Having a Defining Final Result for a Scientific Investigation Before Starting It

Like any undertaking, conducting a scientific experiment requires careful planning. The final goal of an investigation should be well-defined before starting – otherwise, it can lead to unforeseen complications during the process.

This concept may sound straightforward, but in fact there are boundless variables involved with designing experiments: some may have been considered in advance and others not at all! If you haven’t accounted for these components – and consequently may experience difficulties when carrying them out – then your efforts will be wasted.

For instance, if one of your objectives is to create a food that can help prevent illness or combat obesity then you must address such issues as taste, cost and shelf life prior to creating your recipe.

11. Giving Too Much Weight to Sample Size

Believe it or not, just one poorly-designed experiment can render a study null and void.

For those unfamiliar with sampling, this refers to the number of participants you decide to include in your experiments. The smaller this cohort becomes – what’s termed an ‘extreme’ – the more likely that discrepancies between experimental results and real life experiences may occur. Ultimately, these shortcomings may be quite difficult to detect without precise statistical analysis!

Clearly delineating the sample size is a critical factor in ensuring that your data are reliable and valid (e.g., yielding trustable conclusions). However, it is imperative that you avoid overestimating the quantity of individuals needed to make accurate assessments; otherwise any subsequent conclusions drawn could be unfounded!


In order to ensure that your experiments yield fruitful results, it is essential to remain cognizant of the pitfalls enumerated within this article. By adhering to a few prudent practices, you can guarantee success – after all there are no mistakes when it comes to science!


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