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Write Better Science – Conclusions

conclusions the final section in your experimental practical report and the top five reasons why students get the wrong at this point of your practical report you should have covered things like the in very important concepts that are relevant to understand what you’re going to do the experimental designer do you have the results that you have obtained the analysis that you’ve done the discussion that is involved now as a point to what your conclusion piece of cake we write these all the time in English we also run them a history couldn’t be easier yeah but you’ll be wrong when you want to make a good impression you need to start off strong and you to finish strong but unfortunately students don’t always finish their practical reports strongly conclusions tend to be one of the weakest parts of their paper and it shouldn’t have to be a problem because it’s so simple let’s break it down ok now you might be thinking to yourself mr. Bowman what should a conclusion actually have them it’s quite simple the first thing you need to keep in mind that it’s supposed to be a summary of your experiment will be things like what did you try to do what were your thoughts going into the experiment what did you find what was the results that you had and a concluding statement about the whole thing let’s go into each one of those in more detail first one is what were you trying to do this is just your aim restated the reason why we restate them is because you need to imagine the mindset of somebody who’s going to read your paper they are just gonna read from front to back do you ever do that sometimes when you pick up a book sometimes sometimes you’re gonna skip ahead just to see what it’s like in that case people might be picking up stacks of practical reports and only some of them might be interesting to them so what they will do is they’ll pick up your paper they’ll have a look ok its title ok that kind of looks interesting I’ll flip over to the back and see what they found so they jump straight to you a conclusion but they’ll have no idea about anything you say unless you tell them you have to restate a few things to summarize it what the entire paper is about so you need to restate the aim what we’re trying to do next you need to tell me what the what your thoughts were going into the experiment this is going to be restating your hypothesis or expected outcomes now this will depend on what kind of experimental design that you have some experiments should lend themselves to a cause-and-effect investigation such as as I increased temperature does the pH also increase what is a decrease that’s a cause-and-effect experimental investigation some experiments don’t have anything like that there’ll be things like merely just quantifying things or measuring stuff such as what chemical is this it’s this good there’s no real hypothesis involved it might be things like how much caffeine is there in one can of redbull is it the same as what it says on the label that doesn’t have a hypothesis so in that case it would we could probably write something about your expected outcomes for that experiment next what were the results you need to select specific data that summarized the findings that you have if you aren’t quoting any numbers or observations then you’re totally doing it wrong next one concluding statement this is the part where you state whether your results are supporting your hypothesis or negating your hypothesis however there are some cases where the results don’t clearly indicate either way in that case you could say the results are inconclusive if your experiment doesn’t have a hypothesis but instead an objective such as what chemical is is or how much caffeine in this can of redbull then you will have to write a statement up based upon what you have and I have a couple of examples like this so you can have a look at what I’ve written about and maybe that might give you ideas and what you can write about in those sorts of situations all right let’s jump into it my first example is one that I wrote for my year rates in terms of God’s efficiency of a tennis ball let’s look at an example of a practical report which does involve the hypothesis so my first example here is the bounce efficiency of tennis balls this is a whole practical report example you can have a look and see how it’s been laid out and the referencing that I’ve used you can find it on my website called angles and acid comm there’s a whole bunch of resources there on not only just content and concepts like you know pH and things like this it also has how to write your assignments better and other resources to go along with it so if you look at the bottom of this practical report this is for my grade 8 science class I’ve written a conclusion down here and I’m gonna break it down the aim of our of the investigation that’s the first one there I’m summarizing and restating my aim already from the start the MU live investigation was to determine the bounce efficiency of a tennis ball at varying heights and it was hypothesized that as a drop height increased so too will the bounce height due to extra gravitational potential energy being added with an increase in drop height so notice I’ve restated the aim and have also restated their hypothesis now it’s move on the findings indicated subtle changes occur in the bounce efficiency of the tennis ball ranging from 37.3% to 32.9% but with an overall decline in a chosen trendline okay notice how in this part I’m summarizing the findings that I had found summarized specific data the 32.9% and most of mentioning the overall trend lines is important moving on the results of the experiments support the hypothesis that as the drop height increases so too will the downside due to an increase in gravitational potential energy however the bounce efficiency remained relatively constant so in this part I’m making my concluding statement I’m standing with my hypothesis was supported or negated this one could be a little bit better if I’m if I supported the statements that the drop height increases so does the bounce height I could have found some specific data to show this however I was probably intending to use the bounce bounce efficiency numbers to provide evidence for my statement and I’ve also gone further to make other statements about the bounce efficiency which isn’t the primary focus of the hypothesis statement I just expected that if I drop her from a higher height it should bounce or what higher but the investigation was trying to figure out okay how does the bounce efficiency change with changes of drop height so I’ve made a little concluding statement about that as well not so bad let’s move on to a second example okay let’s look at an example where there is no hypothesis being involved you are simply investigating perhaps a quantity of something it depends so in this case I was doing an experiment with my class determining dicks concentration of ammonia in cloudy ammonia so ammonia is a molecule usually a gas but it can be dissolved in water and cloudy ammonia is a cleaning product you finally abide in bottles at the supermarket so we were doing a bunch of chemistry to extract the ammonia and then measure it so if you screen scroll down to the bottom so again this is another full work takes practice example this one was aimed for my year 11 chemistry students so it’s much more detailed there’s a lot more calculations involved so if you’re doing senior chemistry or senior science maybe this is something you might want to look into as an example for your work so here’s my conclusion the aim of the investigation was to verify the twenty grams per liter of ammonia claimed on the label of cloudy ammonia the experiment of results determined twenty point six liters grams per liter contents with an uncertainty of two point six zero four percent which differed by a margin of three percent from the claim this minor difference from ammonia content provides a evidence of the authenticity of the claim as well as some indication of the tolerances of the products manufacturing so sounds a bit full of words but let’s just examine those main points that we have in our conclusions first one summarize the aim and the hypothesis do I have the aim here yes I do the aim of investigation was to verify the twenty grams per liter claim on the bottle second do i summarize my findings the experimental results determined in twenty twenty eight point six grams per liter content with an uncertainty of point six through four percent so I’m summarizing my findings and also including if I’ve got a benchmark to measure against I’m also including some some margin of error how far off was my ends of the experimental results from the label the claim so I got almost all thing now the last bit is a concluding statement now in this case there is no hypothesis I wasn’t testing as this increases this will decrease I’m not doing a cause and effect style of experiment I’m merely just measuring the content of something so this is what I chose to write about the minor difference in ammonia content provides evidence of the authenticity so the label on the packet is legit as well as the margin of error the three percent difference between the experimental result and the true declaim result it gives you a bit of information about what kind of Tolerance they have when they manufacture these products so that’s something that I could write about in my conclusion maybe you want to write something similar and now for their great finale the top five reasons why students get their conclusions so wrong they start from number five number five students tend to write their conclusions which are not very insightful they’ll tend to say things like and so the experiment was successful which is not very helpful number four they tend to not summarize their findings they don’t give me any permit any information as to what you actually found not very strong conclusion at all number three they tend to fig they tend to forget to restate their aim and their hypothesis like I mentioned before when people pick up your paper they’re not going to read the whole thing from start to finish every time in fact they’re just mostly likely going to pick it up look at your title and the first few sentences of your introduction then skip to the end and read the conclusion to see if it’s what they were looking yet see if this prac record is what they were looking for so they’re not going to understand what you’re saying unless you restate the aim and you restate your hypothesis refresh then memory if they are reading your paper start to finish as well number two misusing the word proven you can’t use the word proven and I’ll tell you why to prove something in science you need to test it very well and when you do this you need to test it a number of times many many times to make sure that your result or your data is not just a fluke and also not only do you have to repeat it in numerous times it also has to be tested by other scientists around the world different times different approaches to make sure that your idea is in fact true this is going to be way beyond the scope of a sign of a high school science experiment so you’re not in a position to say that you have definitive proof that your idea is true so you can’t use the word proof you can only say that the evidence indicates this or indicates that it supports this or it negates that you can’t say proof and number one the most common mistake that all students tend to make is that they don’t refer back to specific data that backs up their conclusion it’s such an important part of it you need to say all right the bounce efficiency remains roughly constant you can’t make that conclusion unless you say specific numbers that indicate that what you’re saying is true you need to show me specific numbers and if you refer back to the examples we just had before you can see how I’ve done that in the examples all right that’s it I hope this helps this is the final bit in the writing better science series if you haven’t checked them out already I’ve written one on writing a better introduction writing a better method and soon there will be some material on writing a better a result section and a better discussion section but I haven’t read them up just yet but they should be there in the next few months all right I hope this helps hope you liked it don’t forget to check the parts of my hair where angles and s website there are practical report examples there are tips on how to use Excel how to make tables in Excel how to make graphs in Excel there’s a little link to a website which allows you to build a a Pareto diagram so you don’t have to draw them by scratch and there’s lots of other things where you can check out so I encourage you to do so see you later it’s so it’s simple I’ll break it down for you the first thing you need to keep in mind it is supposed to summarize