Institute for Language Sciences Labs


Researcher: Designing an Experiment in the Babylab

Last updated on 22 July 2015 by W.J. Doedens

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This page aims to give you a step-by-step guide to running your own experiment in the Babylab. Our experimental set-ups are located in room K.11 and room K.03A. Technical details about the set-up in room K.11 can be found here.

—-  Are you new to the Babylab? Read this Introduction before doing anything else! —–

Step-by-step guide to designing an experiment in the Babylab

Step 1. Before you start

Support and opening hours

  • Read this introduction carefully and follow all the steps.
  • Access to the Babylab is restricted. Contact Desiree Capel for details.
  • You can reserve the facilities in the Babylab through the Online Babylab Reservation system. Contact Desiree Capel for access and details.
  • For details on opening hours, see this page.
  • Read the How-to “Planning an experiment” here.

Storing data

The lab is primarily meant for running experiments; you are expected to do some of your experiment preparation, and all of your data analysis, on computers outside the lab or in room K.06. Use the ILS Labs data server to move your data to other PCs, and to safely store it.

Step 2. Design your experiment.

Talk to Desiree Capel at the very beginning stage of designing an experiment. She can give you suggestions about detailed practical issues in infant testing, and what parameters you need to decide on when designing infant experiments (and possible complications of these parameters). This will help you to avoid infeasible paradigms, to reduce noise in the data, and prevent a high drop-out rate.

You are expected to attend the weekly babylab user meetings if you’re doing an infant experiment. You can also discuss your experimental design during these meetings.

Step 3. Test your experiment (technical run-through).

Check if all stimuli and responses are correctly presented in the test room. Also check if the stimuli are presented as they should (audio and visual). Check if the output that is produced is useful and recoding of the data (if necessary) is possible.

  • Run several technical test trials to make sure everything works as it should and the data/recordings are meaningful before moving on to the next step.

Step 4. Prepare the required documents.

You will need to prepare several documents before you start running your experiment in the Babylab. Templates of these documents can be found in the General Repository, as well as on the shared drive (babylabondersteuning folder):

Step 5. Set up your user accounts.

  • Request a “leader” account in the Babylab Online Reservation System.
  • Fill out the “request form setting up experiment for Online Reservation system”
  • Contact Desiree Capel to set up your experiment in the online reservation system.
  • Contact Desiree Capel to get access to the Babylab email account.

Read the Manual for the Babylab online reservation system “Leader” version (download from here (Dutch) and here (English)) carefully so you know how to use the system to your advantage. Scheduling and testing of experiments in the Babylab runs entirely through the online reservation system.

Step 6. Pilot your experiment with actual participants.

Inform Desiree Capel that you are planning on running a pilot. Practice running the experiment in the Babylab (with a friend or colleague) and run a pilot (with actual participants) before you start recording participants one-after-another. Expect (slight) delays and reworks of your design and experimental set-up.

Step 7. Recruit participants.

Recruiting participants will be done through the Babylab online reservation system and the Babylab participant database. Either you or a Babylab research assistant/intern will schedule the appointments for your experiment.