The Background Information

     The background information deals mainly with a review of the related literature and research on your topic. Find out and report on what other people have written or discovered about your topic. The background report could also contain descriptions of subject matter directly related to your topic. Even definitions of important terms could be included here.

The Process Journal

     This year, 2010-2011 students will be keeping a Google Doc for their project journal.

Statement of the Problem

     Express the purpose of your investigation in the form of a question or a brief statement. Try to be as specific as possible.

     Example: Instead of calling your project “Seed Growth” state exactly what you are investigating about seed growth.

     1. How do microwaves affect seed growth?

     2. A Study of the Effect of Microwaves on Seed Growth.

The Hypothesis

     The Hypothesis is a statement about the facts that will be investigated. When you

hypothesize, you are predicting what you expect to happen during your investigation.

The reason for having the hypothesis is that is gets you started with your experiment.

The experiment is designed or planned to 'test' the hypothesis. That is, to determine

whether the hypothesis is correct or incorrect. If the results of your experiment support

the hypothesis, you can state in your conclusion that the hypothesis is accepted. If the

results do not support the hypothesis, you can conclude that the hypothesis is rejected.

     Example Problem: How does amount of air affect how a basketball bounces?

     The Hypothesis: If air is added to a basketball, it will bounce higher.

The Plan of the Experiment

     The plan of the experiment is the procedure that you intend to use in trying to prove or

disprove your hypothesis. The plan should contain five main parts:

1. Statement of the problem

2. The steps you are going to follow to perform the experiment

3. A list of materials

4. A way of recording observations

5. A time schedule

A well-planned procedure will do the following:

     o State the hypothesis to be tested

     o Identify the independent variable

     o Describe how the independent variable will be changed

     o Identify the dependent variable

     o Describe the method for measuring any changes in the dependent variable

     o Identify other possible independent variables that may affect the dependent variable (these are the control variables)

     o Describe the way that the variables in the previous point will be controlled (they are usually held constant or unchanging)

Data and Results

After you are satisfied that you have a well-planned procedure, start your experiment. Keep accurate and detailed records of when you try the experiment, what you do and what you observe happening. Make a record of any observations as soon as they occur. Always record data and observations as soon as they are obtained. Never rely on your memory. Try to repeat your experiment several times so as to improve the accuracy of your results.

     An effective way of organizing raw data such as measurements is to place them into tables. Each column of a table should have an appropriate heading and the correct

unit of measurement should be stated.

     After the raw data have been collected, you might want to summarize them. Graphs, such as line charts and bar charts may reveal patterns and trends in your data.

You might want to enter your raw data into a spreadsheet program and have a computer

construct the charts for you. Examine the data carefully. Write statements about what the data are saying. These statements are your results.



     The conclusion is the last part of your investigation. Here you want to deal with

what you have learned by performing the experiment. Base your conclusion on the data

that you have collected.

     Look over the data. You may notice patterns or trends.

     There may be a direct relationship between the independent and dependent variables.

For example: As the number of turns of wires increases, the electromagnet getsstronger.

     There may be an inverse relationship between the independent and dependent variables. For example: As an elastic band gets longer, it's width decreases.

     There may be no relationship between the independent and dependent variables. For example: As the mass of a pendulum increases, its rate of swing remains unchanged.

     You performed the experiment to 'test' the hypothesis. Study and examine the

data. Does the data support the hypothesis? If the answer is yes, then state that the

hypothesis is 'accepted'. If the answer is no, then state that the hypothesis is 'rejected'.

It is very important to understand that rejecting the hypothesis does not mean that

the experiment is a failure. On the contrary, you have made a worthwhile discovery.

However, now you might want to state a different hypothesis and then perform another


     In conclusion, you want to make a decision. Did I accomplish what I set out to

do? Remember you carried out the project to try to find a solution to a problem. Base

your solution on the data you collected and perhaps also on what you found out in your

background report.


     After you have described the results of the experiment and the conclusion that

follows from these results, you should now consider some practical ways to apply this



     You will discuss the strength and weakness of the performed experiment or investigation and give some suggestions for improvement.

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