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# Experimental Design and Lab Reports

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by

## Kristin Shapiro

on 5 November 2014

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#### Transcript of Experimental Design and Lab Reports

First things first... identify your variables....
Independent Variable: the thing you, the experimenter, is changing
Dependent Variable: the thing that responds to the IV
Control: the condition that is most like "normal" conditions
Constants: things that remain the same throughout the entire experiment

If the experiment contains too many independent variables, the researcher is unsure which the DV corresponds to.
Lets draft a hypothesis
We use an if... then... statement
Graphs for the lab
What is our independent variable?
Treatment (those grown intra vs. interspecifically, and small groups versus large groups)
What is our dependent variable?
Germination
Total matter accumulated (mass)

Experimental Design and Lab Reports
In this case...

IV: seeds grown in small groups or large groups; seeds grown intraspecifically vs. interspecifically
DV: germination; plant weight
Control: seeds grown in small groups intraspecifically
Constants: pots, types of seeds, soil, water, temperature, amount of light, lack of fertilizer
On your paper, identify each of these
If... IV.... then....DV what should yours be? Lets draft it now
Make sure you record observations
Quantitative: numerical data
Qualitative: things you see, hear, smell
Data Tables
Should always have a title
Should include units

Graphs
X axis: Independent Variable
Y axis: Dependent Variable
Pie charts: comparison (percentages)
Line graphs: IV is time
Bar graphs: comparison
So lets decide what our graphs will be. We don't want both DV on the same graph, so we need at least two separate graphs.
Are we comparing radishes versus collards?

No - we are comparing radishes to radishes (those grown with other radishes versus those grown with collards) and collards to collards (those grown with other collards versus those grown with radishes)
So we need four graphs total, lets look at what they will be....
Germination of Collards
% germinated
1/7 2/8 3/9
Treatment
Sketch what you think your graphs should look like now. What are you going to label each axis? Will you have more than one graph?
So we need separate graphs for the radishes and for collards.
Four graphs total:
Collards: plant mass
Collards: seed germination/survivorship
Average mass of Collards
1/7 2/8 3/9
Treatment
These should be double bar graphs
One bar for treatments 1,2,3
Different bar for treatments 7,8,9
These should be double bar graphs
One bar for treatments 1,2,3
Different bar for treatments 7,8,9
% germinated
4/7 5/8 6/9
Treatment
These should be double bar graphs
One bar for treatments 4,5,6
Different bar for treatments 7,8,9
4/7 5/8 6/9
Treatment
These should be double bar graphs
One bar for treatments 4,5,6
Different bar for treatments 7,8,9
How to write your lab report...
4 Sections:
Introduction:
provide some background (you need to research this) ,experimental problem, hypothesis, introduce your variables, identify the control (can be done in a table), how you will control your constants
Data:
should include both your data tables and a written explanation of your data. Do not analyze your data in this section. Just report it. Discuss trends you see, but not what the trends mean. I should be able to read either section and understand your data.
Conclusion:
Analyze your data - what trends do you see? Refer back to your data. This section should include numbers. Confirm or refute your hypothesis. What research can you find that relates to your data/hypothesis. Then discuss errors, and make good suggestions on how these could be corrected.
The title of each section should be bolded and underlined.
Each section should include multiple paragraphs, each should start with an indention.
12 point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins
Make sure to include a bibliography in APA format
Since your introduction and conclusion should discuss intra vs. inter specific competition, you should have materials to reference.
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