Evaluating the properties of sensory tests using computer intensive and biplot methodologies

Meintjes, M. M. (Maria Magdalena) (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2007-03)

Assignment (MComm)--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is the result of part-time work done at a product development centre. The organisation extensively makes use of trained panels in sensory trials designed to asses the quality of its product. Although standard statistical procedures are used for analysing the results arising from these trials, circumstances necessitate deviations from the prescribed protocols. Therefore the validity of conclusions drawn as a result of these testing procedures might be questionable. This assignment deals with these questions. Sensory trials are vital in the development of new products, control of quality levels and the exploration of improvement in current products. Standard test procedures used to explore such questions exist but are in practice often implemented by investigators who have little or no statistical background. Thus test methods are implemented as black boxes and procedures are used blindly without checking all the appropriate assumptions and other statistical requirements. The specific product under consideration often warrants certain modifications to the standard methodology. These changes may have some unknown effect on the obtained results and therefore should be scrutinized to ensure that the results remain valid. The aim of this study is to investigate the distribution and other characteristics of sensory data, comparing the hypothesised, observed and bootstrap distributions. Furthermore, the standard testing methods used to analyse sensory data sets will be evaluated. After comparing these methods, alternative testing methods may be introduced and then tested using newly generated data sets. Graphical displays are also useful to get an overall impression of the data under consideration. Biplots are especially useful in the investigation of multivariate sensory data. The underlying relationships among attributes and their combined effect on the panellists’ decisions can be visually investigated by constructing a biplot. Results obtained by implementing biplot methods are compared to those of sensory tests, i.e. whether a significant difference between objects will correspond to large distances between the points representing objects in the display. In conclusion some recommendations are made as to how the organisation under consideration should implement sensory procedures in future trials. However, these proposals are preliminary and further research is necessary before final adoption. Some issues for further investigation are suggested.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie spruit uit deeltydse werk by ’n produk-ontwikkeling-sentrum. Die organisasie maak in al hul sensoriese proewe rakende die kwaliteit van hul produkte op groot skaal gebruik van opgeleide panele. Alhoewel standaard prosedures ingespan word om die resultate te analiseer, noodsaak sekere omstandighede dat die voorgeskrewe protokol in ’n aangepaste vorm geïmplementeer word. Dié aanpassings mag meebring dat gevolgtrekkings gebaseer op resultate ongeldig is. Hierdie werkstuk ondersoek bogenoemde probleem. Sensoriese proewe is noodsaaklik in kwaliteitbeheer, die verbetering van bestaande produkte, asook die ontwikkeling van nuwe produkte. Daar bestaan standaard toets- prosedures om vraagstukke te verken, maar dié word dikwels toegepas deur navorsers met min of geen statistiese kennis. Dit lei daartoe dat toetsprosedures blindelings geïmplementeer en resultate geïnterpreteer word sonder om die nodige aannames en ander statistiese vereistes na te gaan. Alhoewel ’n spesifieke produk die wysiging van die standaard metode kan regverdig, kan hierdie veranderinge ’n groot invloed op die resultate hê. Dus moet die geldigheid van die resultate noukeurig ondersoek word. Die doel van hierdie studie is om die verdeling sowel as ander eienskappe van sensoriese data te bestudeer, deur die verdeling onder die nulhipotese sowel as die waargenome- en skoenlusverdelings te beskou. Verder geniet die standaard toetsprosedure, tans in gebruik om sensoriese data te analiseer, ook aandag. Na afloop hiervan word alternatiewe toetsprosedures voorgestel en dié geëvalueer op nuut gegenereerde datastelle. Grafiese voorstellings is ook nuttig om ’n geheelbeeld te kry van die data onder bespreking. Bistippings is veral handig om meerdimensionele sensoriese data te bestudeer. Die onderliggende verband tussen die kenmerke van ’n produk sowel as hul gekombineerde effek op ’n paneel se besluit, kan hierdeur visueel ondersoek word. Resultate verkry in die voorstellings word vergelyk met dié van sensoriese toetsprosedures om vas te stel of statisties betekenisvolle verskille in ’n produk korrespondeer met groot afstande tussen die relevante punte in die bistippingsvoorstelling. Ten slotte word sekere aanbevelings rakende die implementering van sensoriese proewe in die toekoms aan die betrokke organisasie gemaak. Hierdie aanbevelings word gemaak op grond van die voorafgaande ondersoeke, maar verdere navorsing is nodig voor die finale aanvaarding daarvan. Waar moontlik, word voorstelle vir verdere ondersoeke gedoen.

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