Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Principles of laboratory economy. 
103 
for example, he wishes to conduct a telephone-current, he should not 
follow his first impulse to use very large, silk-covered, expensive flexible 
cords made for incandescent lamps, but should content himself with com¬ 
mon office wire. 
Still more important is it for the student to learn how to plan and 
execute his researches. The ignorant method of piling up indiscriminate 
measurements in large quantities leads to nothing. The problem for in¬ 
vestigation should be first definitely stated. As soon as the work is suffi¬ 
ciently advanced to involve measurements, the investigator should make 
clear to himself whether the work is to consist in a determination of a 
single quantity or in a full investigation. In the former case he must, 
before making his final measurements, examine and consider all possible 
sources of error, and should carefully estimate and adjust them so as to 
obtain the required degree of accuracy. The instructions for this work 
and for carrying out the measurements are to be found in Weinstein’s 
Physikalische Maassbestimmungen, Berlin 1886, Volume I., to page 282, 
omitting certain parts that refer to full investigations. In the case of a 
full investigation, where the object is the determination of a function ex¬ 
pressing the dependence of one quantity on other quantities, the work 
becomes much more complicated. The student should be familiar with 
the whole first volume of Weinstein. This work by Weinstein is 
rather voluminous and it-contains no psychological examples ; it is to be 
hoped that a smaller work on the subject will be written specially for the 
use of psychologists, economists and biologists. 
Any attempt to carry out serious investigations without a knowledge 
of the principles involved results in a wasteful piling up of figures with¬ 
out any adequate return in the way of laws or facts established. Such 
an extravagant procedure has become impossible in sciences like physics ; 
it must soon become so in experimental psychology. 
The proper understanding of methods of measurement and investigation 
requires a familiarity with at least the elements of analytical geometry and 
calculus. The student can get along with what is contained in Nernst- 
Schoenflies’s Einführung in die mathematische Behandlung der Natur¬ 
wissenschaften, or, in regard to calculus, with Fisher’s Infinitesimal Calcu¬ 
lus, although a more extended study like that involved in working through 
such familiar books as Stegemann-Kiepert’s Differential- und Integral¬ 
rechnung or Schloemilch’s Compendium der Analysis with the examples 
given by Fuhrmann, Naturwissenschaftliche Anwendung der Differential- 
und Integralrechnung, is highly desirable. Without at least an ele¬ 
mentary acquaintance with calculus and a familiar working knowledge of 
the science of measurements higher scientific work will remain unintel¬ 
ligible and inaccessible to the student of experimental psychology.
        

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