A few years back, I created the first version of the random redirect tool that now lives at allocate.monster. I developed the tool to support New Zealand statistics students to conduct questionnaire-based experiments online, but soon started getting emails from Masters/PhD student and “actual” researchers about using the tool.

I think that’s pretty cool, and just shows how connected the statistics we teach in high school classrooms is to what happens in actual research practice. It’s also pretty cool how varied the contexts for the research are e.g. perceptions of animal faces, impact of screen size on purchasing behaviours, framing of information about the dairy industry, Google search personalisation, and more!

There are so many things you can experiment with using questionnaires, and with appropriate ethical guidance school-level students can get creative with their designs! Some ideas I’ve previously shared are in my post Ideas for using technology to design and carry out experiments online and Tracey Webster gave a presentation a few years back with examples of how she had used the random redirect tool.

My plan is to give my students brief summaries of these research studies that use allocate.monster, as well as a link to the actual research report for more details. I’ll then ask them to describe the key features of the experiment design and then to create their own simplified version of the “inspo” experiment (e.g. a simple randomised design with two independent groups).

I’m a huge fan of students being encouraged to adapt the design of an existing experiment, given the experiment is suitable for implementatation at the high school level. This approach means students first have to understand the context and rationale behind the original experiment, and then consider how they might adapt it to see if the “effect” can be found in a similar situation.

I’ll finish with a brief summary of one of the allocate.moster enabled research studies that particularly appealed to me! And yes, it features cats!

Do people rate photos of animals differently when tears are added digitally? Participants were randomly allocated to view photos of animal faces, with or without digitally added tears, and then asked to rate animals across different attributes (emotional intensity, aggressiveness and friendliness). The researchers found animals with tears were rated less agressive but more friendly.

Source: Picó, A., & Gadea, M. (2021). When animals cry: The effect of adding tears to animal expressions on human judgment. PloS one16(5), e0251083. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251083