How to build the skill and the habit of experimentation?

by Capla 1 min read15th Nov 201412 comments


I want to make regular experimentation a part of my life and don't really know how. I thought that I should associate with and assist people who do run experiments (I'm interning with a psych lab and a paranormal investigator, and hope to work with some behavioral economists who run field-experiments), but I relied that I haven't taken the time to consider if that is actually a good approach or if there is somthign else I should be doing in addition.


How do I gain proficiency with experimental methods and build the habit of running simple experiments regularly? I suppose that there's a certain kind of phenomenon that to the educated mind is automatically flagged as ripe for experimentation (I'm thinking of Feynman's curiosity about the ants in his room, from Surely You're Joking, or Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres testing with his army to find out what the optimal way to fight is, prior to the first of Quirrell’s battles), but I don't have that intuition, yet.


What are the key insights, procedures, or guidelines that I need to know in order to experiment fruitfully? How do I build that intuition?

I’m looking either for recommendations or critiques. Perhaps personal experimentation is not as useful as my veneration of science in general leads me to believe? It seems to me beneficial that when faced with a problem, confusion, or dispute, one of my go-to approaches is to run an experiment.