Design your own experiment


Have you got a hint, tip, or life hack that you would like testing? Why not design your own experiment to see whether it really works?

To do a good experiment you’ll need to:

  1. Start with a clear hypothesis. This is the question you want answering. For example in our garlic experiment the hypothesis was that stainless steel can get rid of garlic smells.
  2. Next you’ll have to figure what the variable you want to change is. This is the thing you are doing before making an observation. In the garlic experiment the variable was the rubbing of the stainless steel on your hands.
  3. You will also want a control experiment. This is another thing you vary, but in this case you either a) aren’t expecting it to have an effect (this is called a negative control) or b) you are defiantly expected an effect (this is called a positive control). The plastic spoon was a negative control in the garlic experiment.
  4. After you have done your experiment you’ll need to make an observation. What, if anything, has changed? Make the observation process as fair as possible. For example we blindfolded the observer in the garlic experiment so they didn’t know which hand was which.
  5. Test if your experiment works well, and change things until you are  happy with your method.
  6. Keep a record of how you conducted your experiment (including all the methods that didn’t work). This is very important because you need to be able to tell people how you did your experiment so that they can replicate it.
  7. Record your results
  8. Share your experiment with as many people as possible. The more observations you collect the more likely you are to get an accurate result. Its really easy to set up a Google form which will let people send you their results.
  9. And finally share your experiment with us here at Hit or Myth. You can tweet us @yorkshirechem and include the hashtag #HitOrMyth, or leave a comment on our blog with a link to experiment  you’ve designed on this blog. We’d particularly like to see videos of your experimental methods! If your experiment is good we’ll share it and help try to explain any chemistry involved.


A special thank you to Sheffield Hallam University, Specialist Laboratories & Facilities – Sheffield Business School for allow us to film in their kitchens.