Reporting the Results
When you feel that there is enough data to support the hypothesis it's time to accurately report the findings. This may take the form of a lab report or a research report. A scientific research report differs from a report of library research. In addition to a statement of the problem, literature search, and hypothesis; you should report on the methods and materials of your experiment, the results gathered, and the conclusions drawn. This report should very specifically reflect your understanding of the problem or the question you intend to answer.
The first section should only present the problem or state the question. Secondly, an introductory section should present a search of the literature (Bibliographic Form). In this survey, information is presented to support your background. Each piece of information should be credited with its source. The form may be a footnote or literature cited. See a grammar text for details. In general, these should be the facts upon which your hypothesis is based.
Thirdly, follows the clearly stated hypothesis; describing the set of circumstances under which the specific result will take place. This hypothesis may describe the ways in which a set of variables affect a phenomenon. It may be an educated guess based on a search of the literature. Perhaps, it might be a statement that no relationship exists between certain variables, a null hypothesis. If used correctly, these would add focus to an investigation and should be expressed in this way.
Fourth is a very detailed description of the methods used. Then this design of the experiment will be stated in such a way that someone else can repeat it. Someone else should be able to follow your procedures as they would a recipe. The materials used are listed here.
The fifth section of your paper should convey your results. This may take the form of tables, graphs, or both. The raw data and the results of any statistical measures are presented. Here results of your investigation are presented without any discussion.
Finally, in this separate, discussion section the data presented above is analyzed and evaluated. These findings may be supported by the literature; if so cite each pertaining source. The more support that you present, the stronger these conclusions will be. Those conclusions will be drawn and supported in this discussion section by the literature.
The body of the paper will now be complete; but a few tasks remain. A list of literature cited or bibliography should be included. Check a grammar text for the form. A scientific paper should include a literature cited section.
A last section must acknowledge those who helped you with your work. For instance, thank all who helped you with guidance, materials, or the use of equipment or facilities.
One last item which you should write is an abstract of your paper. This is a shortened version of the entire paper. It is helpful for others to read this summary to get a general idea of your work. The abstract should include information about yourself at the top: name, address, school, grade in school, age, and the general subject area of your project. This should be followed by three short paragraphs. The first paragraph should lay out the purpose. The second would describe your methods and materials. The last paragraph should present the results and conclusions. The abstract should be from 200 to 300 words and should fit on one page. When you put the paper together, the abstract should be included as the first page.
Return to Science Fair Primer.