COMPLETING YOUR SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT
• CONDUCT YOUR EXPERIMENT:
During experimentation, keep detailed notes of each and every experiment,
measurement and observation in a logbook. Do not rely on memory!
What questions arise from your research? Take plenty of pictures
during your experiment. Be sure to have a definite way to measure
the changes you may observe. Besides, judges love logbooks!
Use tables or charts to record your quantitative data.
• ANALYZE YOUR RESULTS:
When you complete your experiments, examine and
organize your findings. Use appropriate graphs
to help visualize your data. Identify patterns
from the graphs. This will help you answer your testable question:
1. Did your experiments give you the expected results? Why or why not?
2. Was your experiment preformed with the exact same steps each time? Are there other explanations that you had not considered or observed?
3. Were there experimental errors in your data taking, experimental design or observations?
Remember, that understanding errors is a key skill
scientists must develop. In addition, reporting
that a suspected variable did not change the results
can still be valuable information. That is just as
important of a “discovery” as if there was some
change due to the variable. In addition, statistically
analyze your data using the statistics that you can
understand (Student's T-Test or Chi -Squared, etc.)
as well as being able to explain their meaning, especially to the judges!
• DRAWING CONCLUSIONS:
1.Did the variable(s) tested cause a change when compared to the standard you are using?
2.What patterns do you see from your graph analysis that demonstrates a relationship between your variables? Which variables are important?
3.Did you collect enough data? Once or twice is not enough to get a valid result and/or to insure that your findings are statistically significant.
4.Do you need to conduct more experimentation? Keep an open mind – never alter results to fit a hypothesis.
5.If your results do not support your hypothesis, that’s ok and in some cases good! Try to explain why you obtained different results than your literature research predicted for you.
6.Were there sources of error that may have caused these differences? If so,
identify them. These may be factors you didn’t consider before the experiment,
or limitations to your ability to measure the results. Even if the results do
differ, you still have accomplished successful scientific research because you
have taken a question and attempted to discover the answer through quantitative
testing. This is the way knowledge is obtained in the world of science. Think
project be used in the real world? Finally, explain how you would improve the
experiment and what would you do differently.