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10.2 Components in experimental design

An experiment is usually undertaken to study some general topic, such as how ice forms in clouds, how rainbands are formed, how entrainment affects droplet size distributions, how precipitation forms, or what conditions are required for contrail formation. The scientific objectives often include discriminating among a set of specific hypotheses, representing various alternative explanations. The goal in experimental design is usually to find observable consequences that distinguish among the hypotheses, and then collect measurements that can differentiate among those possibilities (or perhaps invalidate them all). This is always an interactive process: The statement of hypotheses must reflect the consequences of the physical processes in the particular application selected for observation, and the observations must be feasible. The elements in experimental design, although often presented serially, are almost always developed iteratively as compromises between what is possible and what would be decisive.

Those elements include:


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