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Task 6 - Analyzing data and drawing conclusions

This and task 5 are due for the fourth lesson.
NASA/GISS (Public Domain)


Analyse data

After you have collected your data the next step is to analyse them.

The goal of data analysis is to determine if there is a relationship between the independent and dependent variables, this is called “looking for patterns”. Did the change I made have an effect that can be measured?

Recording data on a table or chart makes it much easier to observe relationships and trends.

Adapted from: Science Fair Central - Scientific Projects - Steps

Analyse data - Steps

The steps to follow are:

1. Review your data. Try to look at the results of your experiment with a critical eye. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you need to collect more data?
  • Did you make any mistakes?
  • Is it complete, or did you forget something?

2. Calculate an average for the different trials of your experiment, if appropriate.

3. Make sure to clearly label all tables and graphs. And include the units of measurement (volts, centimetres, grams, etc.).

4. Place your independent variable on the x-axis of your graph and the dependent variable on the y-axis.

Taken from: Science Buddies - Science Fair Projects - Project Data Analysis

Analyse data & Draw conclusion

You can use these questions to help you out in analysing your data:

  • What can be learned from looking at the data?
  • How does the data relate to your original hypothesis?
  • Did what you changed (independent variable) cause changes in the results (dependent variable)?

After analysing your data, you will be able to answer these questions as you draw some conclusions.

Finally, do not change your hypothesis if it does not match your findings. The accuracy of a hypothesis is NOT what constitutes a successful science investigation. Rather, the main goal is to see that the conclusions stated match the data that were collected.

Taken from: Science Fair Central - Scientific Projects - Steps

Graph checklist

What makes a Good Graph

  • Have you selected the appropriate graph type for the data you are displaying?
  • Does your graph have a title?
  • Have you placed the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis?
  • Have you labeled the axes correctly and specified the units of measurement?
  • Does your graph have the proper scale (the appropriate high and low values on the axes)?
  • Is your data plotted correctly and clearly?


For a Good Graph, You Should Answer "Yes" to Every Question.

Taken from: Science Buddies - Science Fair Project - Project Data Analysis Checklists

Data analysis checklist

What makes a Good Data Analysis Chart

  • Are there sufficient data to know whether your hypothesis is correct?
  • Are your data accurate?
  • Have you summarized your data with an average, if appropriate
  • Does your chart specify units of measurement for all data?
  • Have you verified that all calculations (if any) are correct?

For a Good Chart, You Should Answer "Yes" to Every Question.

Taken from: Science Buddies - Science Fair Projects - Project Data Analysis Checklists

Draw conclusion

Your conclusions summarize how your results support or contradict your original hypothesis:

  • Summarize your project results in a few sentences and use this summary to support your conclusion. Include key facts from your background research to help explain your results as needed.
  • State whether your results support or contradict your hypothesis.
  • If appropriate, state the relationship between the independent and dependent variable.
  • Summarize and evaluate your experimental procedure, making comments about its success and effectiveness.
  • Suggest changes in the experimental procedure (or design) and/or possibilities for further study.

In short, conclusions are written to answer the original testable question proposed at the beginning of the investigation.

They also explain how you have used science process to develop an accurate answer.

Adapted from:

Science Fair Central - Scientific Projets - Steps

Science Buddies - Science Fair Projects - Project Conclusions

Draw conclusion - Example

Results:

According to my experiments, the Energizer battery maintained its voltage (dependent variable) for approximately a 3% longer period of time (independent variable) than Duracell in a low current drain device. For a medium drain device, the Energizer maintained its voltage for approximately 10% longer than Duracell. For a high drain device, the Energizer maintained its voltage for approximately 29% longer than Duracell. Basically, the Energizer performs with increasing superiority, the higher the current drain of the device.

The heavy-duty non-alkaline batteries do not maintain their voltage as long as either alkaline battery at any level of current drain.

Conclusions:

My hypothesis was that Energizer would last the longest in all of the devices tested. My results do support my hypothesis.

I think the tests I did went smoothly and I had no problems, except for the fact that the batteries recover some of their voltage if they are not running in something. Therefore, I had to take the measurements quickly.

An interesting future study might involve testing the batteries at different temperatures to simulate actual usage in very cold or very hot conditions.

Taken from: Science Buddies - Science Fair Projects - Project Conclusions

Draw conclusion checklist

What makes for Good Conclusions

  • Do you summarize your results and use it to support the findings?
  • Do your conclusions state that you proved or disproved your hypothesis?
  • If appropriate, do you state the relationship between the independent and dependent variable?
  • Do you summarize and evaluate your experimental procedure, making comments about its success and effectiveness?
  • Do you suggest changes in the experimental procedure and/or possibilities for further study?


For a Good Conclusions, You Should Answer "Yes" to Every Question.

Taken from: Science Buddies - Science Fair Projects - Project Conclusions Checklist

Start your research

Download the second part of the Laboratory Notebook.

Upload it to your Google Drive or in any other Cloud Storage site.

Send the teacher the link, with permission to edit.

This laboratory notebook will provide you with a tool to record your research.

Don't forget to complete the checklists. These will drive your reseach.

Remember, you will have just one month to perform your research.

Start it and Good Luck!