Phenylethylamine wrote:This brings up a good point: sadly, the goal of Experimental Design is not to do good science, but to do a good write-up. It's often to your advantage to intentionally introduce some nice, controlled form of error that you can point to and say, "Look, here's [error] that we could fix by doing [procedure step] differently!"
My parents, both scientists, hate this event, because its short timeframe and rigid rubric encourage data falsification and doing experiments where you know what results to expect
To the first bolded: I think I disagree with your parents a bit. I find it a lot of fun, despite the not-so-great aspects.
However, the first couple ED contests I was at, we were given some topics that were a lot of fun to design an experiment on (I love the design aspect, coming up with an experiment is so much fun). If though, my first contest was this year's regionals, I don't think I would have enjoyed this event quite as much -- we were given water, salt, dye, a paper towel, a spoon, a stopwatch (and a couple other things) and told to design an experiment dealing with capillary action. To me, an experiment like that doesn't interest me very much because they seem to have given you materials with an experiment in mind (dye various concentrations of salt water, measured with the spoon, and record the time it took the water to flow up a given distance of the paper towel) and have given a topic that basically enforces you do that experiment.
To the second bolded, while true, I've found a lot of times (like at least half) I *don't* get the results I expected.