Labs and Graphical Analysis

This page provides resources to help students working with data, especially in formatting graphs and finding mathematical models for the data.

Note: See U1-GMSummary document attached below for help with linearizing data.

"Rules of Thumb" to follow for any physics lab:

    • Change only one independent variable at a time.
    • Repeat trials at least three times, to be sure of consistent data.
    • Collect at least six different ordered pairs (6 pairs x 3 trials = 18 pieces of data)
    • Make the range of your data as large as is possible without risking damage to equipment or people.
    • Test-plot your data, produce a curve-fit, try to linearize it (not always possible), before you leave the classroom.
    • After you have a linear graph, consider the "ten-percent rule." If your intercept is 10% or less of the slope of the graph, it may be irrelevant (your graph might need to be "forced" through the origin).