Unit 4 - Is Hypothesis Supported by the Data?
Opinion can influence the hypothesis and be the reason for conducting an experiment.

Unit 4 - Is Hypothesis Supported by the Data?

In this GCSE Biology quiz we look at testing a hypothesis. During scientific investigations, it is usual to ask a question in the form of a hypothesis. The experiment then takes place and the results are obtained. After processing the results and drawing the conclusion, you need to decide if the data agrees with your original hypothesis. If the data you've gathered does agree with your prediction, you say that the hypothesis is supported by the data as part of the conclusion. If it doesn't, that's fine, you simply say that it doesn't support the hypothesis. If that is the case, it could be that the original hypothesis is wrong, the explanation you chose for the hypothesis is inappropriate or that the experiment you planned was unsuitable.

Imagine that you had carried out an experiment for the hypothesis that 'larger bean seeds will germinate faster than the smaller ones because they have larger cotyledons. Larger cotyledons have more food for the seedling'. When analysing the results, you found that only 25% of the larger seeds germinated faster than the smaller seeds. In this case, you would need to have said that "The larger seeds did not germinate faster than the small seeds so my original hypothesis is not supported by the results". If the results had been closer to 50:50, with a few more of the larger seeds germinating faster, you might have said "the large seeds do seem germinate faster but the results are so close I can't be sure if there is a real difference".

So be prepared to admit that your results are inconclusive or that your hypothesis is not supported by your experiment as you will still get full credit for the work if it has been carried out methodically and scientifically. It doesn't mean that your investigation wasn't a good one - even professional scientists don't always get the answers they want from their experiments and observations!

Data we consider for supporting the hypothesis consists of...
results obtained in the past
results from someone else's experiment
results obtained in the current investigation
no results
In the conclusion, always add a statement about how well you think the data supports the original hypothesis
A hypothesis is supported by the results.
Always true
Always false
Sometimes true
You won't always come up with a set of results that support your hypothesis
How would you process the data to work out if your hypothesis is supported?
Work out the average and compare the groups of data
Draw a pie chart
Do more tests
Put the results into a table
There are other useful techniques such as scatter graphs with lines of best fit
Why is a control used in scientific experiments?
In order for it to be a fair test
To compare with the experimental group
To increase the sample size
To make it more likely that we get a good result
Experiments usually have a negative control. An example would be a control group of patients in a clinical trial of a new drug being given a sugar pill rather than the drug. We can then make a comparison to determine if the drug works and to see if the data supports the hypothesis. A control is a way of checking the reliability of a set of results
What is an opinion based on?
Non factual information
Opinions and beliefs are not always based on facts but they could be an interpretation of facts. It can sometimes be difficult to spot whether something is an opinion or a fact
Which of the following could be a practical reason for unexpected data which does not support the hypothesis?
Running out of time
Incorrect measuring of volumes
Being distracted
Working on your own
There are many other sources of error too, including making a link between variables that are not really connected. This can happen if you don't really understand the science behind what you are investigating. Ending up with data that doesn't support the hypothesis can actually be very positive and help you to understand more
When the hypothesis is supported, the data is in...
Data supports the hypothesis if it shows agreement. If the data is unexpected, we can repeat the experiment or redesign it
If the data does not support the hypothesis, you should ...
repeat the experiment several times to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results
write a conclusion based on this first experiment
give up
make up the results
We would always repeat experiments which we were unsure about. Sometimes, it is not possible because of time.
What is a hypothesis?
A prediction based on previous knowledge
A random guess
The results obtained
A statistical test
Try to make your hypotheses precise and always include information about the science you have based it on
Which of the following is an example of a hypothesis?
I think that the reaction will be slowed down
I think that the reaction will be faster
I think that if I increase the concentration of acid, the reaction will be faster
If I increase the concentration of acid, there will be more acid particles so I think the reaction will be faster because there will be more collisions
A hypothesis needs to have a reason for the prediction
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Practical skills

Author:  Donna Maria Davidson

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