Starting from freshman year, lab portions of my biology classes have been crucial for developing my ability to follow through with experimental design and analyze results. This began in BIOL 120 when we were assigned to create an experimental design based on the knowns and unknowns found through research. I remember that I made this experimental design without truly understanding how to organize and carry out the experiment to obtain the predicted results. Through my time at Longwood, I learned more through my classwork and research about creating an effective design that will take all variables into account in order to be successful.
One occasion where I felt like crucial parts of experimental design were missing was in my project for BIOL 341, Ecology. This was an instance where we had to create our own project and the methods for this were not very consistent and did not contain manipulated repetition, which I believe is crucial for proper design to get legitimate results.
I successfully created an experimental design with my group in CHEM 350 that I feel truly exhibits my growth from the past 4 years. Creating our own design from scratch allowed us to use important skills of analysis and previous chemistry knowledge. This also taught me one of the most important lessons for experimental design: repetition. With this being a completely new experiment, we did the same experiment for numerous weeks and were often getting different results. We had to keep repeating the process until results were fairly consistent, which was crucial for getting authentic results.