Science for Kids – How to Collect Data in an Experiment
Collection of data in any experiment is crucial for accuracy and precision of a science project. More importantly, when data in experiments are properly collected, the information gathered provides the scientist of the science project validity and credibility. These are valuable skills for any scientist to be successful in any field. When science students are collecting data for a science project, they should be aware of these basics steps: precision, accuracy, validity and reliability.
Precision data is repeatability
In many instances, science students working on their school science projects need to repeat their experiments. This is to provide justification to previous experiments. But it also explains that the data gathered is precise. The more precise the collection of data is the more accurate the result. Perhaps, science students need to repeat an experiment to verify an unsuccessful or an incomplete result. Other times, experiments do not perform to standards. In other cases, experiments are incomplete due to lack of materials or time. Hence, the more repeats in an experiment the better the results.
Accurate data is correct information
The accuracy of the data gathered by science students means how close that result is in regards to the true value. In statistic terms, a true value is data that closely approaches the correct record. In this way, the more precise a measurement is in a particular instrument, the more accurate that value is to the experiment. Therefore, many instruments must be calibrated according to standards to provide accurate results. When an instrument is not calibrated, the measurements from that instrument lack validity. Calibration is the act of standardizing an instrument based on its specific graduations. For instance, a weighing balance in a grocery store is calibrated with weights to provide the most accurate weight in pounds. Thus, calibration of an instrument is a vital part of the accuracy and precision of a result.
Valid data is true scientific content
When science students provide true data, it also provides legitimacy to their science projects. As a matter of fact, without validity in science projects, they appear unreliable. For other scientists, when validity is compromised in some experiments or science projects, it sends a negative signal that they were not serious about their project. In science, experiments may not provide the results that they may predict. But a negative data in a science experiment can also mean a good result. It can prove or disapprove the hypothesis. It can provide additional information to other scientific experiments. It can establish the opportunity to further analysis of the data. Therefore, a valid science experiment not only provides valid results but it also provides an honest science student.
Reliable data is trustworthy evidence
If science students approach their science projects with validity, their data becomes more reliable. When experiments are conducted with conviction in performing the best and most accurate data, then they can be confident about their science projects. Reliable results establish the foundation for a legitimate reputation for science students. But it also establishes that the information gathered by science students is reliable, valid, accurate, and precise. In fact, science students who do not omit any steps in their science experiments to obtain results understand that science is a learning process.