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A conclusion is the final process of the basic scientific method by which scientists reveal whether the hypothesis was proven correct, according to certified math and science teacher Patricia McNerney.
The conclusion is one statement, backed up by data analysis, that supports or refutes the hypothesis. Conclusions may warrant further study by other scientists who recheck the original experiment.
Even if a scientist states in the conclusion that the hypothesis is incorrect in some way, other scientists may alter the original experiment based on the data and analysis.
The Utah State Office of Education explains that the scientific method works when other scientists learn by attempting new hypotheses and new experiments.
Biology expert Regina reveals that the conclusion is the last step in the scientific method during a single experiment, posted after the results.
The first portion
The first portion of the scientific method involves making an observation, followed by asking a question, stating a hypothesis, performing an experiment, listing the results and then stating a conclusion.
The experiment is further broken down into several steps including data collection by observing differences between a control group and an experimental group
. Results are often plotted in charts or graphs that make them easier to read before scientists state a conclusion to the experiment.
Your conclusions summarize
Your conclusions summarize how your results support or contradict your original hypothesis:
Summarize your science fair project results in a few sentences and use this summary to support your conclusion. Include key facts from your background research to help explain your results as needed.
State whether your results support or contradict your hypothesis. (Engineering & programming projects should state whether they met their design criteria.)
If appropriate, state the relationship between the independent and dependent variable.
Summarize and evaluate your experimental procedure, making comments about its success and effectiveness.
Suggest changes in the experimental procedure (or design) and/or possibilities for further study.
Scientific Experiments and Conclusions
You’re in biology class conducting an investigation on osmosis. You design an experiment to test which solutions cause water to go into a cell versus out of a cell. Your group tries the experiment three times and gets the same result.
Another group only does the experiment once, but gets a different result.
To make matters more complicated, another group confirms your result, but gives a different explanation for the data. Who’s data is more correct? How will you reconcile all these different results for your lab report?
The process of analyzing data and making meaning of it is called drawing conclusions in science.
Evaluating scientific data is a key feature of being a scientist.
Today, we’re going to learn what methods are most reliable for gathering data, how to analyze results and finally draw conclusions, including comparing multiple explanations for the same data.
The first step in any experiment is to gather data. Although this may seem simple, the process of gathering data can make or break a conclusion.
Recall the beginning of this lesson where your group conducted the experiment three times and another group conducted an experiment only once. Which set of data is more reliable?
The more times an experiment is repeated and produces the same outcome, the more reliable the data is. A result that only occurs once is much more likely to be due to chance than any scientific principle. More trials equals more accurate data, and more accurate data will give you a more meaningful conclusion.
Now that you have your reliable data, it’s time to analyze, or look for patterns in that data. At this point, it’s helpful to make a chart or graph to organize your data.
Ask yourself what you notice? Are there any differences between samples or trends?
Let’s say you’re studying photosynthesis.
To do this you put spinach leaves in water, with or without carbon dioxide. You hypothesize that only the leaves with carbon dioxide will do photosynthesis.
When you preform your experiment, you see a trend that the more carbon dioxide the leaves were given, the more oxygen bubbles were produced. This is a trend and an important part of your analysis. During the analysis phase, you’re looking for facts, trends, or patterns in your data, not necessarily making conclusions yet.
Now that you’ve noticed some patterns, it’s time to make conclusions and figure out what that analysis means in context of science. In your photosynthesis experiment, you saw oxygen bubbles produced by the spinach in carbon dioxide rich water. What does that mean?
Using your background research, you know that photosynthesis makes oxygen.
So, if the spinach makes oxygen bubbles, wouldn’t that mean they are doing photosynthesis? And if the spinach with no carbon dioxide makes no bubbles, you can come to the conclusion that photosynthesis requires carbon dioxide.
How solid is this conclusion? Well, how can you be sure the bubbles are oxygen and not something else? Is that a reasonable assumption? Could you test that theory?
When coming to conclusions it’s important to try to pick apart your own explanation.
Think critically about other explanations for the same data, as if you are trying to prove yourself wrong. Science isn’t about being wrong or right in your prediction, but rather coming to a solid conclusion based in evidence.
There is no bias in science, or having a preference for one answer. Scientists look strictly at the facts with no emotional attachment to their hypothesis.
Write a Good Lab-Conclusion in Science
A lab report describes an entire experiment from start to finish, outlining the procedures, reporting results, and analyzing data. The report is used to demonstrate what has been learned, and it will provide a way for other people to see your process for the experiment and understand how you arrived at your conclusions.
The conclusion is an integral part of the report; this is the section that reiterates the experiment’s main findings and gives the reader an overview of the lab trial. Writing a solid conclusion to your lab report will demonstrate that you’ve effectively learned the objectives of your assignment.
1.Go over your assignment.
Verify that you’ve accomplished all the parts of your assignment so that you can properly address them in the conclusion. Take a few moments to make a list of what you’re supposed to demonstrate or learn in the experiment.
2.Revisit your introduction. To make sure your conclusion is consistent with the rest of your report, revisit your lab report’s introduction. This is a good tactic to help you brainstorm exactly what you’d like to say in your conclusion.
3.Use the RERUN method. Start mapping out the different elements of your conclusion by using the RERUN method. The RERUN method can be a useful structure overall for a short lab report, but it is especially useful for providing a conclusion to your report that reviews the experiment’s important components.
4.Plan other sections to add. The RERUN method is a good start, but there may be other components that you should include. It’s a good idea to talk about what you’ve learned in the experiment. You might also want to situate your reports within the overall research field, or how you can relate the findings to concepts you’re learning in class.
Your assignment may also have specific questions that need to be answered. Make sure you answer these fully and coherently in your conclusion.
Conclusion Sections in Scientific Research Reports
In IMRaD* reports, conclusions often fall under the discussion section. In some disciplines and journals, however, conclusions are separated from discussions. If this is the case for the paper you are working on, you may find the following description of common conclusion moves and sample language useful.
IMRaD refers to reports with the structure Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion used in empirical research in natural and social sciences. Please refer to the Writing Center quick guide “Writing an IMRaD Report” for more explanations.
Activity to help you prepare for writing IMRAD conclusions
Choose three different papers in your discipline and look through their conclusions. What moves do you see? What language clues helped you identify these moves? Are there any moves missing in a way that impacts the interpretation of the conclusion? Consider doing this activity and discussing your findings with others.
Difference Between Summary and Conclusion
Conclusions are as difficult to write as an introduction, because, it decides whether the work is worth your time or not. Both of them have a long-lasting impact on the reader’s mind. While an introduction moves from general to specific, conclusion moves from specific to general. A conclusion is an afterword which contains the gist of something, reached after considering all the important points.
In the absence of conclusion, the research paper might seem incomplete. It is often contrasted with a summary, but there are subtle differences between the two. A summary is nothing but a short and clear account of the text, covering the main points, facts or elements only.
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