Paper in proceedings, 2015
Background: Experimentation is essential for learning and improvement. Factorial experiments (FEs) are a superior experimental design that has been traditionally and successfully used in industrial settings. Currently, there are trends towards increasing citizen literacy, empowering individuals, increasing technology application and strengthening individual monitoring of behaviors and habits.
Purpose: To explore FEs use by individuals in improving daily-life quality characteristics to achieve better quality of life (QoL).
Methods: Data were obtained from 34 experiments conducted individually by novice quality management students. The authors interviewed the six students whose experiments were deemed most interesting and elaborate. Interview data were analyzed in a general inductive fashion.
Main results: FEs have large applicability to daily-life situations. Their use by individuals is however challenging as FEs can pose various methodological pitfalls, be time-demanding and conflict with momentary mood and personal planning.
Principal conclusions: FEs should be reserved for highly relevant problems and supported by technology that enables high-quality data collection. Appropriate support is required to fulfilling the vision of a homo experiens, i.e. a common citizen who can autonomously conduct experiments for achieving better QoL.