Guide To Experimental Science Projects

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Under the right circumstances, experimental science projects offer a great deal of valuable insights and information. For this reason, students who are involved in experimental science projects should be encouraged to record and deliver impartial outcomes. Experimental science projects provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate the scientific theories they have learned in the classroom. A well-planned experimental science project should pose a question and answer the question as adequately as possible. It involves creating a hypothesis and testing the hypothesis.

There are various stages of an experimental science project:

Initial Observation

When making an observation, try to find out how and why a particular event occurs. A number of questions have to be answered such as “What are the conditions in which a particular event occurs or what is the interpretation or hypothesis related to its occurrence?”

Information Gathering

As the event is occurring, make it a point to record your observations about the occurrence. To prepare, read books on the subject and search for reliable information on the Internet. If possible, try to ask experts to gain deeper insights into the experimental science project.

Title of the Project

The project should be named in a way to summarize its purpose. The title of the project should indicate your investigation in to subject.

State the Purpose

It’s also important that the main purpose of the project is described clearly. There must be a concentrated effort to ensure that the statement defines the purpose without diversion or overcrowding. Note the purpose, related questions, and previous observations. Essentially the goal is to explain exactly what the project is meant to do.

Designing the Hypothesis

List answers to your questions related to the project. This can be a a list of statements regarding how and why the occurrences take place. Keep in mind that the hypothesis is designed is such a way that the experimental science project can test it.

Designing the Experimental Procedure

The next step is to design the experimental procedure. Make a step-by-step approach outlining what you will do to answer questions. The experimental procedure is composed of this list.

Rules to Design the Experimental Procedure:

  • Select the objects which have to be changed, one object at a time. These are called variables.
  • Make a change to a variable in order to test the hypothesis.
  • The procedure should tell you how to make the change to your variable.
  • The procedure should also instruct you in how to measure the results of the change made to the variable.
  • A control should be used for comparison, testing the process and the hypothesis.

Collecting Equipment and Materials

List the equipment and materials required for the experiment. Prepare early and source for them, making sure that everything is covered adequately. Some equipment may be available at college laboratories or other area businesses. You can also try mail order supply houses to find some materials. If you have trouble finding the equipment and materials, it’s a good idea to contact some professional science supply houses in your area.

Conducting the Experiment and Recording Outcomes

Once equipment is set up, it’s time to perform the experiment and record the outcomes. You have to record the number of times the experiment is done, the equipment and materials used for experimentation, the time period for each stage of experiment, and all variables such as pressure or temperature.

Record the Observations

The outcome of each procedure should be recorded carefully. The problems encountered during the experiment and the observations of each level of experiment should also be noted down. You should also record the experimental errors for each stage of experiment. All actions taken and the results of those actions should be noted in your observations.

Calculations

After accumulating the raw data from the experimental science project, you have to translate it into meaningful information. Record any math that needs to be done to determine the numerical data obtained during the experiment.

Summarize Result

The next step is to summarize the results. Graphs and tables are sometimes used. At the same time, it’s also a good idea to write a summary of the occurrences during the experiment.

Draw Conclusion

In the last stage, a conclusion is drawn to prove or disapprove the hypothesis. Try to understand the causes if the experiment failed to prove the assumed hypothesis. Sometimes, a repeat of the procedures may be required to get the desired result. Is there is anything which could be done differently to create a different outcome? Make a list of things you learnt from the experiment. Whether the hypothesis is correct or incorrect, it’s important that you record the right answer to your question.

Try to Answer the Related Questions

The results of the experiment can be used to answer other questions which may be related. During the course of the experiment, you may have encountered some new questions. Plus, you may also have a fuller understanding of the experimental science project as well as the hypothesis so you may verify your findings after you have collected enough data. As one question leads to the next, you may come up with a new hypothesis which has to be tested.

What if the Science Project Doesn’t Work?

If the science project didn’t yield the expected or anticipated results regardless of the outcome, knowledge has been obtained from the experiment. It should be viewed as a step closer to the “answer”.

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Oliver Gauss
Oliver has a degree in physics and mathematics and has completed all but his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Physics. He believes actual science should decide scientific disagreements, and that most people who use "science" to defend their emotion-based opinions have no idea what science actually is. Oliver is the editor of WeWantScience.com and has two new sites coming out soon. Stay tuned!