Experimental research project

As part of your assessment in Science this year you will be required to complete a research investigation (similar to last year's plant project). Although some class time has been set aside for the Experimental Research Project you will need to complete most of the work at home, particularly the actual experiment. Students are not allowed to attempt another plant project unless they are new to the school this year.

This Research project should help you understand scientific method and give you an opportunity to participate in scientific processes. It is important that you choose your own topic because it gives you an opportunity to do science in an area in which you have a definite interest. The activity should be fun and allow you to learn more about a topic that is of interest to you.

Planning

  1. Scientific research involves choosing and defining a topic.  Select a topic that has relevance, is realistic, within your capabilities and can be conducted at home.  (Original and creative topics are encouraged).
  2. Ask questions about your topic -- Why?, What if?, How?
  3. Form a hypothesis - this is an educated ' guess ' as to what you think will happen under a certain set of circumstances.
  4. Plan your experiments thoroughly. A good design is essential to ensure appropriate scientific method. You will need to include a control and do a suitable number of trials.
  5. List the experimental equipment you will need.
  6. List any special resources you might use or specialists who may assist your investigations.
  7. Fill in the planning form by 19/7/11.
  8. This must include a detailed plan of your experiment.  Many problems can be ironed out in the planning stage.  Your teacher will then approve your project or discuss any alterations required.

If you are having difficulties in choosing a topic, there is a list of possible topics available. The following books are available for overnight loan in the library and may well be useful to help you choose a topic and conduct the investigation.

Research Project Checklist

Whilst planning and conducting your experimental research project you must complete the research project checklist attached to this Course Information Booklet as you discuss this project with your teacher. This must be submitted with the draft & final report.

Experimenting

  1. Record any successful and unsuccessful procedures and results in a log book. Photographs of aspects of your experiment and of you completing the experiment should be included.
  2. Be prepared to change your ideas and procedures as you get results that you do not expect.
  3. Work logically through your results so as to investigate your original hypothesis.
  4. Hand in the first submission of your report by 30/8/11.

Writing The Report

Your report should be typed, computer printed or neatly written on A4 paper and presented in a clear plastic pocket. All pages in the report should be numbered and a table of the contents should be included immediately after the title page. Your report should also include the following headings.

ABSTRACT: This section should be brief, giving you a good idea of what was done and what was achieved (you may prefer to put this section at the end of the project as a SUMMARY).(5 - 10 lines)

INTRODUCTION: You must complete some background research on your chosen topic. This introduction should be relevant to the topic and also explain why the topic was chosen. (3/4 - 2 pages)

AIM: From this statement it should be clear what has been investigated and why it was investigated. This section should also include the hypothesis. (5 - 15 lines)

MATERIALS: List or description of the equipment you used. You must include photographs of your equipment.

METHOD: Make sure you consider the following:

RESULTS and OBSERVATIONS: The presentation of data/results should be in tables, graphs and/or photographs. All students must include some photographs of their project. Photographs must be in focus and clearly show the setup of the experiment. All information should be clearly labelled. The use of spreadsheets to display your data is highly recommended. (2 - 3 pages)

DISCUSSION:

Analysis of Results.

Analysis of Design CONCLUSION: This section should be short and to the point. The conclusion should relate to the aim. Has the hypothesis been supported or disproved?( 1/2 page)

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A list must be included. Research is based on background information from books or other sources (some of this information should be included in the INTRODUCTION)  How to cite and write a bibliography.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: A brief list of thank-yous to those who have assisted you with your project.

Assessment

This Research Project is a GRADED assessment task and is one of the Semester Two work requirements. Work submitted late will not be given a grade unless prior extension has been approved by the Science teacher, Science coordinator and Year Level coordinator.

Assessment of your project will be conducted in two parts. The first four criteria will be assessed, each out of 5 marks on the first submission. This will also be a draft of the final report; your teacher will give you feedback on how the final five criteria can be improved. The final five criteria will be assessed after the final submission of the completed project. The assessement criteria are shown below.

First submission: 30/8/11.

Final submission: 18/10/11.

Please refer to the assessment sheet for details of the points your teacher may take into consideration when marking your report.

Points to consider