• Investigation Key Concepts

    SchoolCenter Picture

    • Expected results are reflected in the organization of the data table, which includes areas to record the number of repeated trials, levels of the independent variable, measured results for the dependent variable, and analysis of the results by calculation of the means.
    • Systematic investigations require a hypothesis stated in such a way that it identifies the independent variable (parameter that is deliberately changed), the dependent variable (the response that can be measured or observed because of changes in the independent variable), and the relationship between them.
    • Investigations will use International System of Units (metric units) of measurement.
    • Mental and physical models can be helpful in explaining events or sequences of events that occur. They can be used as part of scientific explanations to support data or represent phenomena, especially those that are not easily seen directly or must be inferred from data.

    • Potential sources of error in the experimental design must be identified.

    • To communicate the plan of an experiment accurately, the independent variable, dependent variable, and constants must be explicitly defined.

    • To establish that the events of an experiment are the result of manipulating the independent variable, the experiment must be controlled by observing the effects without the application of the independent variable. The results can be compared with this standard or control. Not all experiments have a control.
    Multiple trials of an experiment must be conducted to verify the results.
    • Analysis of observed results of systematic investigations includes construction and interpretation of graphs. Such interpretation can be used to make predictions about the behavior of the dependent variable in other situations and to explore potential sources of error in the experiment. This analysis can be used to support conclusions about the results of the investigation.
    • Investigations can be classified as observational (descriptive) studies (intended to generate hypotheses), or experimental studies (intended to test hypotheses).
    • Experimental studies sometimes follow a sequence of steps known as the Scientific Method:
    stating the problem, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, recording and analyzing data, stating a conclusion. However, there is no single scientific method. Science requires different abilities and procedures depending on such factors as the field of study and type of investigation.