This is the final article in a series about how to design a simple reaction time experiment. (See the bottom of this article for the rest of the series.) Today, I will look at how to draw conclusions from the data and present the results for this science fair project.
For the purposes of this article, I will assume the hypothesis was
I think that people in who are between 10 and 20 years old will have a faster reaction time on average than those who are younger than 10 or older than 20.
and I collected 3 sets of data:
- under 10 years old: average grip was at 19 cm
- 10 to 20 years old: average grip was at 15 cm
- older than 20 years old: average grip was at 22 cm
Please note, I completely made these up. Gather your own real data!
Since this data is in three distinct groups, it lends itself to a column graph like the one on the right. Create a graph which groups your average results by your subject groups and put it in your log book. Label it “Results”.
Now look at your results. What do they tell you about your hypothesis? This is your conclusion. Generally, there are three possible conclusions:
- My hypothesis was correct
- My hypothesis was incorrect
- I’m not sure if my hypothesis was correct or incorrect
Make a section in your logbook labeled “Conclusion” and write down your conclusion. Expand on it. Why do you think the data shows that your hypothesis was correct or incorrect? Explain your reasoning to the person who is looking at your results. What future tests or experiments might you run to further clarify your results and support your conclusion?
If you are doing this experiment for a science fair project, at this point you will make your display board. Check your science fair rules carefully for what should and should not be on your display. This can vary from one fair to another. Label all of the sections (Problem, Research, Hypothesis, Procedure, Data, Results, Conclusion, Bibliography, etc.). Add some photos, charts, and other graphical elements to make it interesting. Have somebody who is not familiar with your experiment look at it and tell you if anything is unclear.
You might also have to write a report, especially if you are an older student. All of the information you need should be in your log book. Once again, check your science fair rules to find out what should be in your report and what format they expect.
I hope this experiment helped you understand the steps of the scientific method and the general method for creating a science fair project. If you missed any of the parts in this series, use the links in the box below.This article is part of the Reaction Time Experiment series. See the list below for links to the other articles in this series.