Unit 4 - Draw a Conclusion
If results do not support the prediction, it means that the prediction was wrong.

Unit 4 - Draw a Conclusion

When your experiment is finished, it is time to process the results and draw a conclusion. It does not matter whether the results support your hypothesis or not, what matters is that you analyse and interpret the results in a scientific way. This GCSE Biology quiz will help you to do just that.

First of all, you need to analyse your results and then decide what processing is required. Do you need to work out any averages such as the median, mode or mean? Which results, if any, need to be discarded? Would it be appropriate to produce a graph of your results and if so, what type of graph should you draw and what should be on the axes? Sometimes, no further processing is required but in the vast majority of experiments, you will need to do at least some processing before you can come to the final conclusion drawn from your experimant.

Once the processing is done you can further analyse your work and look for any correlation between the independent and the dependent variables. Whilst doing this, you should always keep in mind the original hypothesis and refer to it in the conclusion you write. Start with a simple statement of any correlation that you find, for example, as the amount of fertiliser was increased, the plants grew taller which is exactly what I predicted in my hypothesis. It is then important to attempt to explain why this happened in terms of the science you know. Then you can start to try to put numbers onto the statement like when the concentration of fertiliser was doubled, the plants grew on average 10 percent taller.

Then you need to evaluate how valid your results are. To do this, you should have evidence to back up your claims. Just saying my results were valid and accurate is of no use. You should give specific reasons why you think they were valid and accurate (or vice-versa).

Lastly, you should try to identify any limitations in your conclusion and offer ideas for further investigation. An example of this might be since my results are for just one variety of plant, I could repeat the experiment with other types of plant to see if they were affected in the same way. If one of the limitations was that one of the variables wasn't properly controlled, suggest ways in which the experiment could be improved if it were to be carried out again.

A conclusion is...
based on the design of the experiment
a summing up of what the results show
the hypothesis
a statistical test
It should be linked to the original aim of the experimental work
Conclusions are based on which of the following?
Conclusions are always based on the results of the experiment
We refer to this in the conclusion, and state whether the results agree.
Making predictions and then testing them to see if they are correct is called the scientific method. It works very well outside of science and can help you to avoid jumping to the wrong conclusion in many different situations in your life!
What is the conclusion for the following data?

Temperature/degrees Celsius           Volume of gas/cm3

                    20                                                   5

                    30                                                   12

                    40                                                   26
As the temperature increased, the volume of gas decreased
As the volume of gas increased the temperature decreased
As the temperature increased, the volume of gas remained the same
As the temperature increased, the volume of gas increased
Always relate the two variables in the conclusion
Conclusions are positioned...
at the start of the report
in the results table
at the end of the report
within the method
It is the logical place as a conclusion sums up what you have discovered from your investigation
Which of the following is the correct order for writing up an experiment?
Prediction - method - results - conclusion
Conclusion - method - results - prediction
Results - prediction - method - conclusion
Prediction - method - conclusion - results
Prediction first, conclusion last
If the results double every time the key variable is doubled, the conclusion will say the results are in...
direct proportion
indirect proportion
In investigations that have generated a set of figures in the results, always try to put a number on any correlation. It is not always obvious or possible though, so don't worry too much if you can't do this
Results which disagree with the prediction are described as...
not supporting the prediction
supporting the prediction
Always include a statement in the conclusion about whether the results support the prediction or not
If results do not support the prediction, it means that...
the prediction was correct
the prediction could have been wrong
we rushed the experiment and must repeat it
we need to do more research
As well as this, there could have been errors in the experiment that generated incorrect or inconclusive results (results that neither agree or disagree with the prediction). Investigations with a conclusion like this are great for suggesting ideas for further work which will help you to gain good marks, even if your investigation did not go as hoped. It is an opportunity, not a disaster!
What is the conclusion for the following data?

Height/mm           Mass/g

      15                        26

      20                        6

      25                        31
As the height increased, the mass increased
As the height increased, the mass decreased
As the height decreased, the mass decreased
No trend in the data, inconclusive
This is a good example of the helpful extra comment in the previous question
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Practical skills

Author:  Donna Maria Davidson

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