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Re: Would you like to share some data?

At 05:14 PM 6/6/01 -0400, I suggested:

a double-blind protocol where one team looks at a map, determines the
baseline distance, and reports that (and only that!) to another team which
does the data reduction. The second team should not even know the latitude
and longitude of the observation sites, so they can only calculate using
the distances and the independently-observed angles.

[Correction: this shouldn't be called double-blind. It's only once
blind. But that's waaay better than no blinding at all.]

Better yet: Have the baseline team turn in their result to the
teacher. The teacher surreptitiously jiggers the number by misapplying a
statute-miles-to-nautical-miles conversion factor, or a miles-to-kilometers
conversion factor, or some such. Or the teacher could supply a map with a
jiggered scale-of-miles legend (hint: reducing copy-machine, scissors, tape).

After the analysis team has completed its work, the teacher can reveal the
jigger-factor and !then! the result can be compared with texbook values.

If the analysis team fudged their numbers to agree with preconceived
notions, their result will be the worse for it. If they played it
straight, their results will hold up nicely. Either way, they will get
some valuable lessons:
-- a lesson in scientific integrity, and
-- a lesson in "blind experiment" design: how to foster independence and
objectivity when it might otherwise be lost.