Set Test Goals


Human Factors


Select Response Variables 

Empirically Vetted Scales

Performance Metrics


Select Factors  

Strategically Vary

Hold Constant


The proper planning of a test requires the formation of the right team applying the right tools.  A properly planned test requires people management, team facilitation, project management, and subject matter expertise, both scientific/engineering and statistical.  Successful tests often require a great deal of thought, expertise, discussion, insight, and a basic understanding of the statistical analysis.

The Plan a Test section provides:


Steps in Planning a Test

The ultimate success of an experiment depends on the careful consideration and execution of the planning process. These sections outline a general process for designing experiments (i.e., tests) proven to be successful in practice.

Set Test Goals

A clear goal when designing a test is vital.  Why are you conducting a test?  What questions do you want to answer?  These questions will drive your design and analysis options.

In this section you will find a summary of common test objectives and goals.


Select Response Variables

Response variables (otherwise known as Dependent Variables) measure the outcome of a test.  Responses often include measures of system performance, effectiveness, or suitability.

In this section you will learn best practices for selecting response variables that ensure test success.


Select Factors

Factors are the independent variables that are expected to impact test outcomes.  Factors (e.g., weather) have multiple levels (e.g., rainy, dry) that change.  A good test controls or manipulates the levels to assess their impact.

In this section you will learn how to select factors and prioritize them for test planning.


Special Considerations

Some tests are particularly complicated or unique and require considerations above and beyond those outlined in Steps in Planning a Test. The following sections provide additional guidance for tests that often lead to new questions for test-planners.

Plan a Reliability Test

Reliability is the ability of an item to perform a required function under given environmental and operating conditions and for a stated period of time.  Assessing systems for reliability introduces unique aspects of design.  Data from reliability tests behave differently than those from other tests.

In this section you will learn about testing for different types of reliability and common influential factors.


Include Surveys in a Test

Assessing system performance often requires considering human factors.  Even unmanned systems rely on operators and maintainers in the loop.  Understanding human-system interaction is essential for gaining perspective on the system.

In this section you will learn about special considerations when planning a test with surveys to collect human data.


Planning Tools

Here you can find organizational and planning tools to use when laying the groundwork for your own tests.

Proceed to Planning Tools>>

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