In scientific research there is a standardised way of going about an experiment. This is as the diagram shows:
|Ask a question
|This should be something you can observe.
Go back to Step 1 for more information on picking a question.
|Do background research
|So you don’t repeat experiments which have been done before, and so you can spot things that haven’t worked in previous projects, do a search to see what other projects have done. Use a search engine such as Google Scholar.
|Construct a hypothesis
|A hypothesis is basically what you think may happen. For instance; If Drosophila are given food before entering a maze, they move faster through the maze.
You can also include a null hypothesis. This is normally the prediction you make for if no effects are seen. For instance; If Drosophila are given food before entering a maze, there is no difference in the speed they more through the maze.
|Test with an experiment
|Your experiment tests if your hypothesis is correct or if you should accept the null hypothesis instead.
Always repeat your experiments to check that your results aren’t just a fluke. Repeat experiments at least 3 times.
Remember to always make sure your experiment is a fair test. This means you are only changing one variable at a time
Watch out that you interpret the data as it is (Objectivity), a negative result is still as result, don’t look for what isn’t there. Only report what you see.
|Analyse your data
|Once you’ve collected all your data, you need to analyse it and see if it supports your hypothesis or not.
If you choose to statistically analyse your data see our stats page.
|Communicate your results however you choose – this can be as an academic poster, presentation or written report. See Step 3 for more information on writing up your analysed data.