Researcher Guide

Sharing Discovery

Sharing Discovery

At this point, you’ve spent all the work defining the experiment, fundraising, and growing a community. Now’s your chance to let the science shine.

There’s only one formula for successfully sharing discovery on Experiment - do it often, and do it honestly. Don’t hold back. The only way to mess this up is if after your backers have helped to make the project happen, they never hear back from you. It’s important that your backers enjoy being a part of your project.

Every experiment gathers data and works towards a conclusion. This is what your backers expect in return for funding your project! Negative results are just as important as positive results. A successful experiment will be able to share either as the final outcome.

Lab Notes

On Experiment, scientists are storytellers, and sharing updates through your online Lab Notebook is how you’ll tell your story. You might not realize it, but your backers will be glued to your every word hoping to share in the moment of discovery. The Lab Notebook is your paper trail for backers to look back on.

A Lab Note, pictured below, is a unit of science. Each Lab Note belongs to an Experiment.

Lab notes 1

You’ll find the Lab Notes tab on your project page. This is your collection.

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Two Ways Lab Notes are Used

There's no agenda for a Lab Note. You can explain real-time results, take a deep-dive into one of your techniques, or clarify an important concept. Whatever topic you choose, think of each Lab Note as a natural extension of your project page.

Broadly, lab notes fall into two main categories:

  1. Project update - This is why Experiment exists. We live for these. Time and again, backers tell us they just want to see a project (or researcher) that they care about move forward. Like checking in with Mom, reward your backers by updating them on your progress. A few of our favorite examples:

    Lab notes 4
    Lab notes 5
  2. Curiosity - The key difference is that these can be made any time, not just after the project is under way. Often tangentially related to the project, you can use a Lab Note to dive into a topic of your choice. While fundraising, these are a great way to spread the word about your project. We’ve included plenty of examples below.

    Lab notes 6
    Lab notes 7

Using Lab Notes to Spread the Word

“Curiosity” Lab Notes are effective tools during fundraising. In the example below, Kyle profiles a current event that’s related to his project. Rather than sharing his main project page, which he’s already done, Kyle posts this Lab Note to social media (and elsewhere).

This keeps his message fresh - the Lab Note is a new angle on his project - and is far more effective than simply sharing his project page again. A reader can visit his project page simply by clicking the “Fund this project” button on the right side.

So far, we’ve found that 25% of readers who click the “Fund this project” go on to contribute.

Before launching your project, try drafting at least 2 Lab Notes. They can be of either variety.

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Above: The researcher, Kyle, explains how social media outrage, a topic he studies, can be productive in the real world. You can find the full Lab Note here.

Length and Format

As you’ll notice, there are no rules about length or format. Generally, Lab Notes with photos, animated GIFs, or videos draw the most attention. Make sure, though, that you explain what you’re showing and how it fits into your project.

Some of the most thoughtful discussion on Experiment happens in the comments on Lab Notes. You can facilitate this discussion by ending your Lab Note with an open-ended question or by asking for feedback on your design or result.

As the project owner, you always have the option of keeping certain posts private to your backers only. When you do this, the post will be hidden to non-backers.

Frequency

As far as frequency goes, two thoughtful Lab Notes a week is a good benchmark while fundraising. Once the frenzy of fundraising is over, one update-style Lab Note per week is a good target.

Methods

Part of every research process is a place for the methods. On your project page, there is a section for you to share your methods and protocols directly with your community.

Good science should be reproducible. And, for a reserach study to be reproduced the methods must be accessible and accurate. The methods section is a place for you to explain in detail what protocols you followed to complete the proposed project.

As we all know well, research does not always go as planned. As your methods and protocols evolve you can update your methods section accordingly. Treat this like a work in progress. When you're ready to share your conclusions and results with your community the methods section should be finalized so that others could try use your methods in a future study.

Results

Every research project comes to a stopping point where you're ready to share what you've discovered with the rest of us. The results section is where you can upload your results online for everyone to see.

Whether you've published your work in a peer-reviewed journal, presented an oral presentation at an annual research conference, or finished writing a final report of your findings this is where your results will live on your project on Experiment. The results will be open for review by scientists all over the Internet.

Once you submit your results your results will also be shown to the whole Experiment community alongside the other research projects here.

Before you are ready to upload results you are encouraged to estimate a date for when the backers should expect results and use that as a placeholder. Negative results are still results! This should be the date in which you think you will have completed the data collection and put together conclusions that you are ready to share. On Experiment we understand that in science things don't always go as planned, so if something comes up try to be as transparent as possible with your backers and community.

Metrics and analytics

In your project dashboard, you’ll also be able to see analytics and metrics for your project and lab notes. You’ll be able to see just how engaging your lab notes are, and what your backers enjoy seeing.

Once you’ve completed gathering the data, it’s time to share the results. At this point, you can publish your final lab note and you’ll be able to mark you project as complete. Once this is done, all of your labnotes will then be made openly available to the public.