If this paper, we discuss techniques for measuring polarization mode dispersion (PMD) effects in experimental systems. Because PMD varies with time due to changes in temperature, pressure, and fiber position, measurements of PMD effects in a typical experimental system may not show worst case events or give a true indication of the distribution of these effects over the lifetime of a system. Here we show that by temperature cycling a spool of fiber using an oven, we can quickly determine the distribution of PMD effects, generating over 1000 independent PMD samples in a few hours. This permits the experimental study of events occurring with less than a 10-3 probability and, in systems with only linear distortion, extrapolation of the results to much lower outage probability. Experimental results are presented for both external and direct (chirp) modulation at a 2.5 Gbps data rate over a fiber with polarization dispersion with an average delay of 120 psec for direct detection.