Conclude and evaluate

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Key points

  • A conclusion sums up what has been found out during an investigation.
  • A conclusion should be clearly structured and explained using scientific knowledge.
  • At the end of an investigation, evaluate the results and method to judge how reliable the conclusion is.

What do you analyse to draw a conclusion in science?

Information or data.

Video

Watch this video about how to draw conclusions from information and evaluate experiments.

While you are watching, check how patterns in the data from the experiments are linked to the conclusion

Interpreting data

After a has been followed through, data is to see if it matches the and check if the seems correct.

Once data has been collected, displaying it in a chart or a graph helps to spot patterns. The pattern, if there is one, will show how the has affected the .

After analysing the data, you can draw a conclusion.

What can be drawn to help spot patterns in data?

A graph or chart.

Drawing conclusions

A conclusion says what has been found out during an investigation. A good conclusion does the following:

  • Fully describes the relationship between variables.
  • Links the findings back to the hypothesis.
  • Explains findings using scientific knowledge and understanding.

If a numerical relationship - for example as one variable doubles, the other doubles - between variables has been discovered, then this should be included in the .

For example, if an experiment was set up to see how quickly ink through a beaker of water at different temperatures, a simple conclusion would be:

  • The results show that ink diffuses faster in water of a higher temperature.
  • The conclusion supports the hypothesis because it shows that move faster in hot water.
  • This is because the particles have more energy in hot water, so they move more quickly through the beaker.

What could have improved the conclusion written about ink diffusing through water?

Describing a numeric relationship, if there was one. For example, when the temperature doubled, the ink diffused twice as fast.

Step-by-step guide to using information to support conclusions

image of various graphs including bar charts and pie chart

Step 1 - Data interpretation

A good conclusion describes the relationship between variables, interpreted from a table of data, a graph or a chart.

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In the experiment modelling erosion, which was the dependent variable?

Mass.

Evaluating evidence

At the end of an investigation, it is important to the results and the method. After this is done, a judgement is made about how reliable the conclusion is.

Improvements to the method should be suggested and then, an explanation as to how this would lead to data of a better quality.

Evaluating the results

  • Are there any ? If there are lots of them, the conclusion would not be as reliable.
  • Is there a spread in the data? If there is a big spread - difference between the highest and lowest readings in a set of repeat measurements - then the data may not be very .
  • Have enough results been taken? Results need to be taken over a large enough range to help show if there is a pattern.

Evaluating the method

  • Has the method produced results that allows a conclusion to be reached? The data will have been analysed from the experiment to allow this to happen.
  • Was it a ? should have been considered to make sure it was just the independent variable affecting the dependent variable.
  • Could other have been used? Different apparatus could give a smaller spread of data and fewer outliers.

Suggesting improvements

If any weaknesses have been identified, improvements should be suggested to get better data. Improvements could include:

  • Control any other variables that needed to be controlled
  • Take readings over a larger range or take more readings within the range
  • Use different apparatus that increase levels of accuracy or precision and reduce the chance of outliers.
This mass balance weighs to three decimal places, so it is more precise than scales that weigh to fewer decimal places.

When writing an evaluation, what can be evaluated as well as the results?

The method. This will let you suggest improvements to the method and explain how this would lead to better quality data.

Test your knowledge

Quiz - Conclude and evaluate