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How should I write up a Science experiment?

09 Dec

This scheme was devised by Ms Dale Hawkins and the Science teachers at Sylvania High School. The entry was first created on Tripod 3 December 2004. Revised with M. Kay, Head of Science at SBHS, 17 May 2005. Checked 18 September 2007.

This is the best way to set out a scientific experiment. If you do not follow this style you will DEVALUE your answer.

The skills which are required in Science need clear presentation and logical discussion of what you have done.

Aim: What do you want to test or prove? OR What do you want to learn or discover?
Hypothesis (optional): This is your prediction of the effect one variable will have on another.
Equipment: List the equipment you need to conduct the experiment. Draw a labelled diagram clearly showing what the equipment is and how it is used.
Procedure: List the steps you follow to conduct the experiment.
Safety/Risks: What danger could there be in doing this experiment? Consider electric shock, burns, chemical contamination etc.
Results: Draw up a TABLE to record results, if numerical data is obtained. Results may include written observations in a list or table, sketches, diagrams, photos, etc.
Discussion: How did you ensure that the measuring was accurate? What mistakes were made? How could this improve? What did you observe? Is the result what you expected? Compare to published information. Were there any hazards (dangerous things/situations)?
Conclusion: Have you tested or proved what you had as your aim? Say that you have done so in a clear, logical statement. Make an assessment of the reliability and validity* of your experiment.

Make you understand all the words used in this. Some words are linked to a dictionary. Ask your teacher if you are not sure.

Teachers: See Teaching Science to ESL students.
See also Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students from Virginia Tech.
Teachers and students: See also on this site Tower of Verbs: for Science – and other subjects.

The following links are graded roughly, starting with easier ones and working up to harder ones.
A Glossary of Science Inquiry Terms for Year 7 up: by Michael Szesze, Program Supervisor for Science, Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland USA. Covers a number of important words used in talking about Science.
Science Dictionaries Online from The Library Spot.
Scientific Dictionary from Enchanted Learning is beautiful! It doesn’t cover everything, but is well worth exploring from Year 7 onwards.
Science Glossary for definitions of many words used in Science.
Life Sciences Glossary – over 3,000 definitions, and growing!
NASA Earth Science Glossary.
* Validity:
Here is a high school/junior college level discussion of validity that may help senior students. “The most common definition of validity is best described by the question: Are we measuring what we think we are measuring? There are two important forms of validity: internal and external validity…”
Wikipedia on validity in logic. (For senior students and teachers.)

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76 Comments

Posted by on December 9, 2006 in esl for students, student help, study skills, writing

 

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76 responses to “How should I write up a Science experiment?

  1. I DER ASIAN

    April 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Good job johny. Also Bob has a valid point and i hope this blog gets updated.

     
  2. Sakura Science

    May 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I think these are great instructions, but I have one major problem with them. You provided what to write, but at no point did you provide HOW it is to be written. If my memory serves me well, I’m pretty sure it is to be written in 3rd person past tense. If it is not, you will most likely lose marks, but please check this as I am not entirely sure if it 3rd person, though definitely past tense.

    I was quite surprised you did not include this.

     
  3. Science Girll!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

    this helped alot thanks

     
  4. E.T.I

    September 2, 2011 at 2:36 am

    am grateful we still av what we can rely on for research…Inyang e.t. Elect-elect dept…Maritime Academy Of Nigeria.Oron.

     
  5. Experimenter

    October 5, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Good info, but should be updated.

     
  6. Behroz

    January 31, 2012 at 4:56 am

    good help but could include a bit more

     
  7. Behroz

    January 31, 2012 at 5:12 am

    also give proof if your theory worked

     
  8. Neil

    January 31, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Not sure scientists would put it like that.

     
  9. muzi

    May 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    this is very helpful keep up the good work guys and help south africa grow

     
  10. Neil

    May 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks, and while I am all in favour of South Africa growing, we’re in Australia!

     

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