Working scientifically

Working scientifically is central to developing students' understanding of the world around them.

The scientific process

The scientific process is based on:

  • the formulation and testing of hypotheses
  • gathering observable and measurable evidence
  • organisation and analysis of data.

Scientific investigations must be repeatable to allow for the verification of data and to establish the reliability of conclusions. The process of investigating scientifically is represented here as four distinct facets.

Guidelines for working scientifically

Guidelines for working scientifically skills (DOC 638KB) includes guidance for creating diagrams, flow charts, graphs and charts and tables.

Scientific method

Teachers introduce the scientific method as part of the scientific process. An outline follows.

Section Explanation
Title A concise description of the project.
Aim A formal statement of the purpose of the investigation.
Hypothesis A formal testable statement or prediction of the expected outcome of the investigation.
Equipment A list of all equipment or apparatus used in the investigation.
Risk assessment (if using hazardous or dangerous substances) A document which outlines the identification, assessment and control of risks in the investigation.
Method A procedure which describes the process of the investigation. There is scope to include a scientific diagram or a photo of the investigation set-up.
Results Presented as a series of tables or graphs to represent the data from the investigation. There should be an analysis of the data including trends. The results can include photos.
Conclusion A summary based on the investigation results and how it matches the hypothesis stated.
Discussion An in-depth discussion of the scientific significance of the results. The discussion also provides an area to evaluate the investigation, including limitations, sources of error and bias.

Other sections can also be introduced, especially when conducting inquiry based student research projects. These include:

  • abstract
  • introduction or background research
  • references
  • appendixes.
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