General experimental outline

I.Title – This should tell what the experiment is investigating.  It is the name of the experiment and may be in the form of a question.  Be specific.

II.Purpose – Identify the problem and state it carefully.  Why are you doing the experiment?  “To see if . . .” 

III.Hypothesis – Before you do the experiment, what do you predict will happen?  This should be based on observations and preliminary research.  “If  . . . , then . . . , because . . . .”

IV.Experimental Variable – What is the one condition you changed?  What are you comparing or testing? You may want to include a test where you do nothing to your sample to see what would happen if it were “left alone.”  This is called the control.

V.Controlled variables – List at least six things that you plan to keep the same during your experiment, so that they will not affect your results.  These are the conditions that you do not want to test at this time.  This will ensure that your testing is fair.

VI.Procedure – List in a step-by-step manner how you plan to do the experiment.  If you do a good job, someone reading your procedure will be able to repeat the experiment accurately.  You should include at least ten trials or samples.  Try to do your tests in a random (changing) order.  Analyze your results and discard any that show a major error.

VII.Materials – List the equipment you need to do the experiment.  Be specific; list the kinds and amounts.

VIII.Results/Observations – Use charts and graphs to record your data.  All  calculations should be clearly labeled.  Be sure to keep a journal of all information gathered while doing your investigation. 

What was proved?  Analyze what your results mean.  What were the differences between the factors or products you tested?  Check the ingredients or makeup of your variable.  Be careful not to confuse close results with a major difference.  Are your results close enough to be considered of “ no significant difference” due to possible experimental error?
What conditions may have affected your results and caused an experimental error?
How would you change the design of the experiment to eliminate the problems and make it a better test?
What were some of the conditions that were impossible to control?
What did you learn from your experiment that you did not expect?
If your results are accurate, what recommendations would you make as a result of your experiment?