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Planning & Writing Laboratory Reports A Brief Review of the Scientific Method.

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1 Planning & Writing Laboratory Reports A Brief Review of the Scientific Method

2 The Scientific Method

3 Ask a Question: The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you observe: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where? Do Background Research: Rather than starting from scratch in putting together a plan for answering your question, you want to be a savvy scientist using library and Internet research to help you find the best way to do things and ensure that you don't repeat mistakes from the past.

4 The Scientific Method Construct a Hypothesis: A hypothesis is an anticipated experimental outcome in the form: "If _____[explain the experiment] _____, then _____[this] will happen __________ [because]." Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment: Your experiment tests whether your hypothesis is true or false. It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one variable at a time while keeping all other conditions the same.

5 The Scientific Method Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion: During the course of your experiment, you collect your measurements and when complete, analyze them to see if your hypothesis is supported or rejected. Communicate Your Results: To complete your experiment you will communicate your results to others in a final report. Professional scientists do almost exactly the same thing by publishing their final report in a scientific journal or by presenting their results on a poster at a scientific meeting.

6 Laboratory Reports Include: Title Page (Title of the Experiment, Lab Partners, Author & Date) Abstract Introduction Materials & Methods Results Discussion Conclusion References (APA Format with in-text citations)

7 Abstract A short paragraph summarizing the lab including the: –Purpose –Method used –Key findings –Significance –Major conclusions Allows readers to decide whether they need to read your entire report One paragraph of 100 – 200 words

8 Introduction Includes relevant background information – use your textbook to help you! States the purpose of the experiment States the hypothesis, the anticipated experimental outcome, and the scientific reasoning for this. (i.e. if...then...because...), including both an independent and a dependent variable.

9 Materials & Methods A step by step description of the procedure followed during the experiment, describing the equipment and materials used-in their specific quantities. Written using a clear paragraph structure All safety procedures should be included.

10 Results A summary of the observations from the lab. Graphs and tables need to be clear, easy to read and well labeled All significant results need to be summarized in words.

11 Discussion An analysis of your results, including error analysis. The discussion is the most important part of your report because you show your understanding of the experiment, beyond just completing it. –Compare expected results with those obtained (compare to your prediction). How can you account for differences (NOT human error – you are not incompetent ). Be specific. –Analyze experimental error. Was it avoidable? What is a result of equipment? If there are flaws from the experimental design, how can the design be improved? –Explain your results in terms of theoretical issues. –Relate results to your purpose. –Compare your results to similar investigations. Compare to classmates and discuss anomalies.

12 Conclusion Summarize the results of the experiment, keeping in mind the purpose and hypothesis.

13 Your Task Today: 1. Choose 2 other classmates to work with (groups of 3) 2. Decide on 1 factor you would be interested in testing to determine if it affects Mung Bean growth (you may wish to do some research) 3. Complete the following for approval by me: –Purpose –Hypothesis –Materials Needed (including quantities) –Procedure (numbered list is okay for now) –Observation table to record data

14 More Details: You will be setting up your experiment on Friday You will be recording your observations each day next week for the first 10 minutes of class You will then look at your observations and decide on your key findings, significance of your results and major conclusions (may have to do some research) You will submit only the Abstract (individually) to earn an Inquiry Mark (Due Thursday, October 10 th )

15 Even More Information About Abstracts See the following website for more information on how to write Abstracts: ecific-types-of-writing/abstract See the following website for 2 examples of Abstracts – one is good and the other needs improvement: ject/biology/abslit.html

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