sciencepalooza! – Presenting Your Findings
- Your data table will reflect the variables in your experiment – everything you are changing and measuring will be part of the table.
- The table needs to have an informative title.
- The columns (usually the dependent variable) and the rows (usually the independent variable) must be labeled.
- All labels need units.
- Labels should be specific (2.5 ppb triclosan) rather than “nicknames” (tank A).
- Raw data can go in your notebook; the data on your board can be your averages or overall results.
- Consider including a “0” measurement taken before any experimenting has begun.
|# of Brine Shrimp after Exposure to Triclosan|
|Week 0||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
- Make sure you choose the correct type of graph(s).
- A line or scatter graph is used for continuous data, a bar graph is used for discreet groups of data, and pie charts are used for parts of a whole.
- A line graph could be used for the height of a plant over time, a bar graph could be used for the number of plants in each group that lived or died, and a pie chart could be used for the numbers of leaves on each plant that were healthy, shriveled, or fell off.
- Graphs need to compare similar data.
- If you are measuring the height and counting the number of leaves on plants, one graph should be for height and another for the number of leaves.
- Graphs must be titled and labeled, including units.
- Graphs may include error bars to indicate the probable range of data.
Sources of Error:
In every experiment, the accuracy of the results is limited by the measuring limitations of the equipment and other factors beyond the control of the scientist. This does not mean the experimenter did something “wrong,” but these factors must be noted as things that might influence the outcome of the experiment. This possible range of data can be indicated with error bars on graphs.
- Due to limited access to electronic balances, a scoop was used to measure the yeast. Practice scoops varied from 9.8 g to 10.2 g.
- The power went off for 2 days during Week 3; therefore the average temperature was higher and the amount of light and dark was interrupted for that period of time.
- The effect of triclosan on yeast was not tested.
Your results section is a summary of your data without any interpretation. You are just reporting in text the same information that is found in your data tables and graphs. You can note any trends or limits that your data seems to reveal.
Your results section can state whether your hypothesis was supported, but scientists never say they “proved” something. Don’t claim more than you tested.
Here is a sample from a theoretical triclosan project:
The brine shrimp seem to be unaffected by a 2.5 ppb concentration of triclosan. At a 25 ppb concentration the brine shrimp die at a rate of about 10% each week. The 250 ppb concentration exceeded the 50% mortality rate.
The conclusion puts the results of your experiment in context. Is this new information that needs to be shared to protect the health of people or the environment? Will this information help scientists to understand a relationship? Does this experiment suggest that more work needs to be done? Are there more questions that need to be answered? Statistics can be added in this section to emphasize your point.
Brine shrimp are the staple food source for 50% of the animals in San Francisco Bay. Many of these animals eventually end up leaving the bay and living in the Pacific Ocean. Any threat to brine shrimp can be seen as a threat to many of the food chains that support life throughout the Pacific Ocean and Flyway. Nine thousand tons of triclosan-containing products are purchased and presumably washed down the drains of the Bay Area, all ending up in San Francisco Bay. Since water treatment plant removal of triclosan is limited, all the organisms living in the bay are subjected to its negative effects. This experiment suggests that the numbers of brine shrimp in the bay need to be carefully monitored to determine whether triclosan is killing off this important food chain organism and if triclosan needs to be banned from use.