Planning an investigation

Incorporate these steps into your scientific research

  • What question are you trying to answer? As you develop your idea, you will need to come up with a statement that you can test – your hypothesis.
  • Next, you’ll need to identify what data you need to test the hypothesis. Then, work out what experiment you can do to generate the data. Make sure you will actually be able to do it! (See our ‘Handling data’ section on the main issue page for more on this step.)
  • Review your approach. Is it ethical? (See ‘The importance of ethics’ for more on this step.)
  • Do a trial run or a preliminary experiment. Do you need to adapt your hypothesis? Or the experimental design?
  • Once you’re ready, run the full experiment and collect your data. (Again, the data section will have more information.)
  • Analyse and interpret the data you have collected, drawing conclusions. Do you accept or reject your hypothesis? Or do you need to refine your hypothesis further?
  • Write up a report about your investigation, sharing your results. (See our ‘Writing up’ section on the main issue page for more on this step.)

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Go Further: A practical guide to extended science projects’ in June 2015.

Topic:
Careers
Issue:
Go Further: A practical guide to extended science projects
Education levels:
16–19, Independent research projects