Conducting a Science Fair Project
Results -- What Happened?
What do you do with the data that you collect during the experimentation? Well, if your observations are in words, organize a neat log or charts. If your results are in numbers, organize the data in tables and graphs.
Of course, there are many ways to construct tables and graphs. Certain types will serve best for your data. Your teacher may be able to help you decide on what types of tables and graphs to use.
Once you have completed your experimentation and have collected data, what have you proved? Before you answer that question, consider that data is not always reliable. If you worked with bean plants, for instance, how do you know that all bean plants are exactly like your sample? The answer is, "You don't know." You can only predict or infer that the rest are like your sample. The probability of your sample resembling the total population is not very high if you used five bean plants in each group.
One way to increase the probability, then, is to test a large sample. Fifty, one hundred, or even one thousand bean plants would increase your ability to predict. As a further step, you could have more than one experimental group with each group receiving a different amount of fertilizer. This method would give you even more significant results.
Scientists use statistics to analyze the data collected in an experiment. A statistical treatment of data allows them to predict, or generalize, about larger populations. If you can find someone trained in statistical methods, ask for help in analyzing your data.
You must be careful when drawing conclusions. If someone else repeated your experimentation, would they get the same results? Look over your data. Study it. Do a statistical analysis if you can. Then you can say what you think your experiment shows or seems to indicate.
Your data will either support your original Hypothesis or it will not. You must state this in your conclusion.
Be especially careful that your conclusion is not a new Hypothesis. Any new Hypothesis must be tested.