Scientific Method & What To Include in a Lab Write-Up

posted Nov 10, 2014, 10:50 AM by Britta Reinertsen   [ updated Dec 2, 2015, 7:31 AM ]

Scientific Method WRITE UP notes

  • Make an observation
    • Qualitative observation uses senses (It feels cold)
    • Quantitative observation uses numbers and deals with quantity (It is 10 degrees cooler today than yesterday)
  • Write a testable question or problem (need to be able to measure something)
Hypothesis - An educated guess as to what will happen in our experiment
  • If...then...because statement
  • EXAMPLE: If we drop 2 objects off the table then they will hit the ground at the same time because gravity causes all objects to fall at the same speed.
Procedure - Instructions on how to do the experiment
  • Numbered Steps 1)  2)  3)
  • First step should be "Gather materials and set up"
  • Include number of trials to be completed
  • Include Variables
    • Control - What stays the same in the experiment
    • Independent - What's being tested
    • Dependent - What's being measured
  • List items in order of use
  • Consider any safety concerns (depending on the lab there may not any)
Procedure Changes/Plan 2
  • Sometimes our original procedure needs to be changed or we run out of time and have to change or reduce the number of trials.
  • ANY changes you make to the original procedure need to be written in this section
  • If time allows...retest and record new data
  • A table or chart should be used to record data, including a column/row for averages.
  • Tables should include detailed labels so the reader understands the information
  • A unit of measure should be included next to any number
  • Add data to the charts as you test, NOT at the end of the experiment

  • Horizontal Axis should be the independent variable, Vertical axis should be the dependent variable
  • Graphs should be in color, evenly spaced, and labeled

Analysis - Write & think about the data
  • Make sure you use units of measure next to each number
  • Calculate averages (SUM DIVIDED by the number of trials)
  • Low & High scores for each variable
  • Identify any unusual data with possible explanation
Conclusion - Summary of data/experiment
  • Write in complete sentences
  • Use bullets to organize information
  • Discuss how many trials
  • Explain what the results are telling us (use numbers in the explanation, average, high/low)
  • Restate control, independent, and dependent variables
  • Discuss unusual data & errors
  • Restate hypothesis, state accuracy of hypothesis using data to support statement.
Future Experiments
  • Changes you would or could make to the experiment NOT changes to your behavior
  • New TESTABLE questions you have after completing this lab (the new questions should be related to the original question)
Britta Reinertsen,
Nov 10, 2014, 10:50 AM