Often it is important to do some basic pilot work when preparing a new experiment.
We break pilot testing down into two categories: (1) informal equipment/stimuli set-up and (2) acquiring pilot data.
- Informal testing of equipment and/or stimuli
(without MRI data acquisition, or when using a phantom)
Once your project has been presented and approved, it is a good idea to test equipment and/or
stimulation scripts to ensure they are working correctly and to get scanning protocols in place.
We encourage people to do this when the scanner is free on a first come, first served basis.
During normal operating hours (10am-6pm) centre staff should be asked if the scanner is free.
Acquiring pilot data
Booking: It is not necessary to book the scanner for this type of testing. If the scanner is not being used,
you can come in on an ad hoc basis and do testing. Be aware, however, that if the scanner gets booked,
even at short notice or while testing is going on, the group using the scanner without a booking has to leave.
Participants: For informal testing, only use the phantom. If you need a human to be scanned,
see Pilot Data below.
Charging: If you have not booked the scanner, you will not be charged for this time.
If you did book the scanner (and therefore guaranteed that you cannot be bumped during your testing),
you will be booked at the normal charge rate. (See Pilot Data below)
Logging: You don't need to log phantom scans unless you are testing something about
the sequence you are using.
Once you have your proposal approved and have set up your stimuli and protocol, it is a good idea to
test the setup with a participant or two from your lab and to make sure your data and design are working
as you think they are. Time for pilot testing should be routinely factored into the number of
hours requested on the project proposal form.
Booking: It is necessary to book the scanner for this type of testing.
Pilot hours will typically be part of your overall hour allocation after the project has been
registered in the system.
Participants: We suggest having people from your lab take part so that you can get
informed feedback on paradigms. Note that they must go through screening and ethics as with all
Logging: All scanning must be logged in the scanning log.