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I want to share an interesting information for you

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:41 am
by Celena9x
My daughter (4th grade) is comparing three types of bedding products for her guinea pigs to see which one rates the best overall in odor control, expense, ease of clean up, and happiness of Guinea pigs. We are having trouble designing the best way to measure these results and show the procedure steps. We want to show a graph at the end of the experiment that would show the results but need help designing the procedure steps.
Thank you for your assistance.

Re: I want to share an interesting information for you

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:37 am
by MS15
Hi Celena,
Happy to help and this is a lovely experiment! This can be an ongoing discussion but for starters, let's think about the different parameters that she plans to rate each material on.

1. Odor - this one is a bit tricky as it is unlikely that you will have access to an actual odometer. One thing that can be done is to rate the odors subjectively on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being very smelly [worst] and 10 being the least smelly [best]). That way you will have unique values to report for odor for each of the materials. This experiment can be done multiple times (on different days and you can even average the value reported for each material across the days). Ask your daughter to rate them when she is blindfolded so that she is not biased by her knowledge of the material or her expectations for which should be best.

2. Expense - this is easy. You already have the costs associated with equal amounts of the three materials. You could scale them for a similar 1 to 10 scale (most expensive [worst for your pocket] to least expensive [best for your pocket]).

3. Ease of clean up - again this is subjective and you could devise a scale for rating it based on factors such as how much time or effort it takes to clean up. Most difficult clean up gets the lowest score here.

4. Happiness of residents - this is arguably the trickiest as it is very subjective. How about she rates them based on factors such as energy level, willingness to interact with humans, interest in its food and surroundings? Higher the score on each of these equals higher happiness index. It will be nice if you could have more than one animal at a time on each kind of bedding material just in case one animal is 'unhappy' for reasons unrelated to its bedding.

I think one way to simplify all of this a bit, is to first plot a separate graph for each parameter and select which material is best in terms of that parameter alone. Then you can decide which material seems to score higher in terms of multiple parameters. If you like, you could then combine all the graphs to make a final conclusion. It will be easy to visualize the results if the values assigned to each parameter is plotted in a different color. For example... on your X axis will be the three bedding materials (the independent variables) and your Y axis will likely be a scale from 1 to 10. Then you can plot the final values you assigned (could be single values or a single average of values from multiple different observations) for each on this graph, let's say odor in red, expense in blue, cleanup ease in yellow and happiness in green. One important thing to keep in mind is that a uniform system needs to be adopted for whatever values are assigned - low to high should always be worst to best.

Hope this is helpful to start planning. Please reach out again if there are more questions!
Good luck!