Improved Draws for Highland Dancing Championships
Randomization is a fundamental and time-tested principle of
design that is used to reduce bias.
Randomization is used in every scientific discipline and throughout the
social sciences. Given the importance of randomization,
it follows that the use of
random draws ought to be preferred to the "first to enter -
last to dance" procedure traditionally used in highland dancing championships.
However, draws (as often implemented in highland dancing championships)
can be improved.
There are two primary reasons why the highland draws available from this
website are preferable to ordinary draws:
- The random draws provided here are balanced in the sense that competitors
will never dance in early (or late) sets in all four dances.
A competitor's dancing order will be balanced across the four dances.
For technical details concerning the algorithm, click
here to view the corresponding academic paper (published
in 2007 in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports).
- In blocked group championships (such as Interprov at SDCCS), the four highland
dances are run in succession for each age group. It is therefore possible that a
competitor may dance in the last set of one dance (eg. the Fling) and the first set
of the subsequent dance (eg. the Swords). In the example,
the competitor may not have time to adequately recover
from the Fling to dance as well as possible in the Swords.
The random draws provided here ensure that a competitor will never dance in the
last set of one dance and in the first set of the subsequent dance.
This website has been designed so that balanced random draws can
be conveniently generated for use in highland dancing championships.
The methodology has been well-tested and has been implemented in major
championships including Interprov 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In the interest of highland dance, you are welcome
to use and promote the software. If you have any questions, I
would be happy to help out - email email@example.com. If you do use
the software, an acknowledgement would be appreciated.
There are three options for the random generation of balanced draws:
This option is applicable if
you are specifically interested in generating balanced draws for blocked group championships
and you want to generate the draw yourself. You will be required to enter the kilt numbers
for each of the competitors. You can only use this software if the number of competitors
ranges from 15 through 30 (as is the case at Interprov). To use Option 1, click
Suppose that you are still interested in balanced draws for blocked group championships
but you do not want to generate the draw yourself. This option provides draws when the number of
competitors ranges from 12 through 50. To use Option 2, you will need to do a little reading - click
Suppose that you do not have a blocked group structure and you are not concerned with
recovery issues. You can then generate a balanced draw for any group
of dancers that ranges in size from
1 through 99 by following the instructions
below. Note that the
purpose of the "seed" is to give the random number
mechanism a starting value. Repeated use of the same
seed will lead to the same draw. Therefore, you will probably
want to use different seeds for different draws.