CHEM 720/7200-01 - Introduction to Experimental Design and Chemometrics

Semester: Winter 2022

Professor: T. Gorecki | Discipline: Analytical | Campus: Waterloo


Experimentation is one of the foundational pillars of science. Any theoretical hypothesis that is formulated must ultimately be proved or disproved by experiments. While the scientific method is generally intuitively understood by researchers, not all of them fully realize how various controllable and uncontrollable factors might affect their results. Also, the approach to experimentation is often far from optimal. The course will try to fill these voids by exploring the areas mentioned above. The following topics will be covered:

  • Probability, parameters and statistics
  • Precision and accuracy
  • Evaluation of sources of variation in data (analysis of variance)
  • Calibration
  • Reliability and drift
  • Sensitivity and limit of detection
  • Experimental design
    • The origins of experimental design
    • Factorial designs
    • Fractional factorial designs
    • Placket-Burman design
  • Least squares
  • Multivariate approaches
  • Optimization of analytical methods


No textbook is required for the course. Lecture slides will be available as course notes. The following are suggested texts on which major parts of the course are based:

G.E.P. Box, J.S. Hunter, W.G. Hunter, “Statistics for Experimenters”, 2nd Ed., Wiley Interscience, 2005
D.L. Massart, B.G.M. Vandeginste, S.M. Deming, Y. Michotte, L. Kaufman, “Chemometrics: a textbook”, Elsevier, 2003
R.G. Brereton, “Applied Chemometrics for Scientists”. J. Wiley & Sons, 2007


Attendance (10 %), assignments (3 x 5 % = 15 %), midterm exam (25 %), presentation (10 %), final exam (40 %).

Tentative dates for the midterm and final exams are Feb. 9 and March 30, respectively. Both exams will take place during regularly scheduled class hours. Both exams will be open book and will be delivered on-line, hence there will be no class meetings on those days.


Students will be required to prepare short presentations for the last course meeting based on an article from scientific literature involving the use of the techniques covered in the course.


  • Wed: 7:00 pm - 9:20 pm in EIT 2053/MacN 101

Office Hours

No formal office hours will be scheduled unless a clear need arises. Course instructor will be available to answer questions and provide assistance on an “as needed” basis.