Scientific Method and Experimental Design Paper
Order ID 53563633773 Type Essay Writer Level Masters Style APA Sources/References 4 Perfect Number of Pages to Order 5-10 Pages
Scientific Method and Experimental Design Paper
Scientists study the world around them through a series of steps known as the scientific method. The series of steps are as follows:
Observation—your car won’t start
Question—why won’t it start?
Hypothesis—dead battery, ignition problem, out of gas (you actually had 3 hypotheses in this case)
Experiment—turn on radio, look for ignition spark, check gas gauge
Analysis—radio works, ignition spark present, gas gauge reads “E”
Conclusion—your car is out of gas
Please note that different scientists and different textbooks may list this series of steps slightly differently than listed above.
The scientific method is a way of finding answers to questions.This is something that everyone does every day!For example, let’s say that after class you head out to the parking lot to go home and discover that your car won’t start.One of the first things you likely do is wonder about why your car won’t start.Perhaps your battery is dead.Or there’s an ignition problem.Or you’re out of gas.Well, if you want to get home, you need to figure out which of these is the problem.So you try turning on your radio, check for a spark at the plug, or look at your gas gauge.You discover that your radio still works, there’s an ignition spark, but your gas gauge reads “E”.Now you know that you’ve run out of gas and need to put some in your car in order to get home.You’ve solved the problem.And you did it using the scientific method (even though you likely didn’t realize it)!
Let’s work our way through the steps of the scientific method using another example.
Step 1:Observation(s). I’ve noticed that after it rains in the summer, my lawn seems to grow a bit faster.
Step 2:Question(s).What factors are affecting the growth of my lawn?Specifically, does the amount of water affect the growth of my lawn?Note that my specific question states my variables (go back to the previous lab if you need to review).Take a moment to underline the variables in my question, and determine which is the independent variable and which is the dependent variable.
“Does the amount of water affect the growth of my lawn?”
Step 3:Hypothesis (hypotheses).A hypothesis is sometimes described as an educated guess.It is your prediction as to what the answer to your question will be.Hypotheses are based upon previous knowledge and observations.There are multiple ways to write hypotheses.For this lab, we are going to write hypotheses as “if…., then….” statements, which will help ensure that our hypotheses include all the necessary information.The “if” part of the statement identifies the relationship you are studying.That is, it states your independent and dependent variables.For example, “If the amount of water is related to the growth of my lawn…”.The “then” part of the statement is where you make your prediction as to what the relationship will be.For example, “then an increase in the amount of water will increase the growth of my lawn.”Note that my prediction is very specific as to exactly what I think the relationship will be.Don’t be vague in your hypotheses!Let’s practice.For each of the following questions, write a hypothesis.
“Does chocolate affect the number of pimples acquired?”
“Does temperature affect the growth of bacteria?
Step 4: Experiment(s).The purpose of experiments is to test our hypotheses.To accurately test our hypotheses, we must think carefully about our experimental design before we start collecting our data.Some factors to consider include:
constants (controlled variables)
quantitative vs. qualitative data
Let’s say that I test my hypothesis (“if the amount of water is related to the growth of my lawn, then an increase in the amount of water will increase the growth of my lawn”) by simply watering my lawn with a sprinkler every day for a month, and after the month I conclude that my lawn grew faster.However, what if my neighbor’s lawn grew just as fast even without extra water?I need to include a control group to my experimental design.A control group is a group that is not manipulated during the experiment and serves as a basis for comparison.The control group(s) is compared to the experimental group(s) which is manipulated during the experiment.In our example, my lawn that is getting extra water through the use of a sprinkler is the experimental group.A neighbor’s lawn that is only getting water from rainfall is the control group.
We also need to consider other variables that might affect lawn growth.What if my lawn grew faster not because of extra water, but because it got more sunlight?In order to be able to draw a valid conclusion, we need to eliminate these other factors.These other factors need to remain the same throughout the experiment.These factors are referred as constants or controlled variables.
We already said that sunlight needs to be a constant (controlled variable).What other factors can you think of that should be kept constant in order to test our hypothesis?List at least 3.
There are a few other things we can do to increase the validity of our experiment.We should have a large group size.Group size refers to how many individuals are in our control group(s) and experimental group(s).By having large group size, we are able to reduce the impact of variations we forgot or are unable to keep constant.So instead of comparing just my lawn to my neighbor’s lawn, I should compare several watered lawns to several unwatered lawns.We should measure quantitatively, not qualitatively.Quantitative data refers to numbers, whereas qualitative data consists of non-numerical data.Quantitative data is preferred as there is less bias with this type of data.Bias refers to a tendency or opinion, often based on preconceived ideas.Therefore we should measure the growth of our lawns with a ruler, as opposed to just saying that it looks longer (or greener).Please note that the metric system is used in science, so you should use the metric system whenever possible in this lab. Finally, we should repeat our experiment.Repetition (also called replication) helps us ensure that our results are true.
Step 5: Analysis (analyses).Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed.This can involve the use of statistics and generation of tables and graphs.Please refer to the “Working with Data” lab for more information.
Step 6: Conclusion(s).Finally, we draw a conclusion about our hypotheses.Based on our data, we can either “accept” or “reject” our hypotheses.We can never “prove” a hypothesis, as other experiments and data may disprove it later.It is perfectly okay to reject a hypothesis.A rejected hypothesis is typically re-evaluated, and a revised hypothesis is tested.
ACTIVITY: Now that we’ve gone over the scientific method, it’s time for you to practice it in small groups.We’ll work with something we’re already familiar with…paper airplanes!
Step 1: Observation
I’ve noticed that the design of paper airplanes affects the distance that they fly (observation).
Step 2 : Questions
What are some variables in the design of paper airplanes that might affect the distance flown?List at least 3.
These are independent variables.They cause a response.The dependent variable is the response.What is your dependent variable?
Step 3: Hypothesis
Select one of your independent variables to test.Write a hypothesis about the effect of your chosen variable on the dependent variable.Remember to use the if….then… format, and be specific in your prediction!
What is your control group?
What is your experimental group?
What are your constants (list at least 3)?
Write out your experiment methods.In addition to a control group and constants, be sure to consider group size, type of data to collect, and repetition. Provide enough detail in your methods that I could replicate your test!
Step 5: Analysis
Provide both a table (raw data) and a graph of your results.Review the “Working with Data” lab if you’re not sure what type of graph to make.Also consider whether you might need to do some simple statistical analyses in order to present your data as simply as possible.Be sure to provide titles, label axes, units, etc.This should be a stand-alone document.I should be able to look at your results and understand your experiment without reading anything else in this document!Don’t forget to attach both your table and graph to your lab.
Step 6: Conclusion
Do you accept or reject your hypothesis?Why?
Why do you think you got the results that you did?Be detailed!Don’t just tell me (for example) that plane A flew further because it weighed more.Give me a reason as to why and how weight made a difference.
QUALITY OF RESPONSE NO RESPONSE POOR / UNSATISFACTORY SATISFACTORY GOOD EXCELLENT Content (worth a maximum of 50% of the total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 20 points out of 50: The essay illustrates poor understanding of the relevant material by failing to address or incorrectly addressing the relevant content; failing to identify or inaccurately explaining/defining key concepts/ideas; ignoring or incorrectly explaining key points/claims and the reasoning behind them; and/or incorrectly or inappropriately using terminology; and elements of the response are lacking. 30 points out of 50: The essay illustrates a rudimentary understanding of the relevant material by mentioning but not full explaining the relevant content; identifying some of the key concepts/ideas though failing to fully or accurately explain many of them; using terminology, though sometimes inaccurately or inappropriately; and/or incorporating some key claims/points but failing to explain the reasoning behind them or doing so inaccurately. Elements of the required response may also be lacking. 40 points out of 50: The essay illustrates solid understanding of the relevant material by correctly addressing most of the relevant content; identifying and explaining most of the key concepts/ideas; using correct terminology; explaining the reasoning behind most of the key points/claims; and/or where necessary or useful, substantiating some points with accurate examples. The answer is complete. 50 points: The essay illustrates exemplary understanding of the relevant material by thoroughly and correctly addressing the relevant content; identifying and explaining all of the key concepts/ideas; using correct terminology explaining the reasoning behind key points/claims and substantiating, as necessary/useful, points with several accurate and illuminating examples. No aspects of the required answer are missing. Use of Sources (worth a maximum of 20% of the total points). Zero points: Student failed to include citations and/or references. Or the student failed to submit a final paper. 5 out 20 points: Sources are seldom cited to support statements and/or format of citations are not recognizable as APA 6th Edition format. There are major errors in the formation of the references and citations. And/or there is a major reliance on highly questionable. The Student fails to provide an adequate synthesis of research collected for the paper. 10 out 20 points: References to scholarly sources are occasionally given; many statements seem unsubstantiated. Frequent errors in APA 6th Edition format, leaving the reader confused about the source of the information. There are significant errors of the formation in the references and citations. And/or there is a significant use of highly questionable sources. 15 out 20 points: Credible Scholarly sources are used effectively support claims and are, for the most part, clear and fairly represented. APA 6th Edition is used with only a few minor errors. There are minor errors in reference and/or citations. And/or there is some use of questionable sources. 20 points: Credible scholarly sources are used to give compelling evidence to support claims and are clearly and fairly represented. APA 6th Edition format is used accurately and consistently. The student uses above the maximum required references in the development of the assignment. Grammar (worth maximum of 20% of total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 5 points out of 20: The paper does not communicate ideas/points clearly due to inappropriate use of terminology and vague language; thoughts and sentences are disjointed or incomprehensible; organization lacking; and/or numerous grammatical, spelling/punctuation errors 10 points out 20: The paper is often unclear and difficult to follow due to some inappropriate terminology and/or vague language; ideas may be fragmented, wandering and/or repetitive; poor organization; and/or some grammatical, spelling, punctuation errors 15 points out of 20: The paper is mostly clear as a result of appropriate use of terminology and minimal vagueness; no tangents and no repetition; fairly good organization; almost perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage. 20 points: The paper is clear, concise, and a pleasure to read as a result of appropriate and precise use of terminology; total coherence of thoughts and presentation and logical organization; and the essay is error free. Structure of the Paper (worth 10% of total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 3 points out of 10: Student needs to develop better formatting skills. The paper omits significant structural elements required for and APA 6th edition paper. Formatting of the paper has major flaws. The paper does not conform to APA 6th edition requirements whatsoever. 5 points out of 10: Appearance of final paper demonstrates the student’s limited ability to format the paper. There are significant errors in formatting and/or the total omission of major components of an APA 6th edition paper. They can include the omission of the cover page, abstract, and page numbers. Additionally the page has major formatting issues with spacing or paragraph formation. Font size might not conform to size requirements. The student also significantly writes too large or too short of and paper 7 points out of 10: Research paper presents an above-average use of formatting skills. The paper has slight errors within the paper. This can include small errors or omissions with the cover page, abstract, page number, and headers. There could be also slight formatting issues with the document spacing or the font Additionally the paper might slightly exceed or undershoot the specific number of required written pages for the assignment. 10 points: Student provides a high-caliber, formatted paper. This includes an APA 6th edition cover page, abstract, page number, headers and is double spaced in 12’ Times Roman Font. Additionally, the paper conforms to the specific number of required written pages and neither goes over or under the specified length of the paper.
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