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You are on page 1of 5

Why should I complete a data analysis?

**The goal of analyzing data is to communicate trends and results. Analyzing data determines the
**

extent to which your hypothesized relationship does or does not exist.

How is the data analysis different from the conclusion?

**The data analysis explains the data collected, measures of central tendency, variation that exists,
**

and observations from the experiment. The conclusion explains why the data turned out the way

it did based on research and other studies, and also analyzes experimental and human error.

Where does the data analysis go in my lab report?

The data analysis, which can also be called the results section, goes after the procedure. The data

analysis includes the data tables, graphs, and a written report of the findings. It goes just before

the conclusion, which can also be called the discussion.

When is the data analysis due? __________________________

What steps should I follow to analyze my data?

1. Enter the raw data into Excel. Raw data are the numbers you recorded for each trial, for

each responding variable you measured. Remember to write a title that includes units. Be

sure to save to your home computer and school account. Do not rely on a flash drive as

the only storage location.

2. Think about the type of data you have. Do you have qualitative or quantitative data? Do

you have continuous, discrete, ratio, or interval quantitative data? Do you have nominal

or ordinal qualitative data?

Write your type(s) of data here: ____________________________________________

**3. Decide which measure of central tendency to use (mean, median, mode).
**

4. Decide which measure of variation to use (range, frequency distribution, standard

deviation). Remember that standard deviation is a more sophisticated way of calculating

uncertainty. Also remember WHY we need to examine variation from U1C1 (as

scientists, we can never obtain an exact value). Use the below chart to help you decide.

**Type of Data Central Tendency Variation
**

Quantitative Mean Range

Standard Deviation

Qualitative (ordinal) Median Frequency Distribution

Qualitative (nominal) Mode Frequency Distribution

**5. Using formulas in Excel, calculate your measure of central tendency and variation. Or, if
**

you’ve already calculate the values, simply type them into the cells.

**Last updated 11/23/10 by Megan Wahl 1
**

How to calculate values using formulas:

**Every formula must be entered exactly as follows OR you can click Insert- Function and
**

choose from a list.

**=AVERAGE(include the cells) ex: =AVERAGE(B2:B6)
**

=MODE(include the cells)

=MEDIAN(include the cells)

=STDEV(include the cells) (STDEV is standard deviation, the “fancy” uncertainty)

To find the range you have to find the MAX (highest number) and MIN (lowest number) first.

**=MAX(include the cells)
**

=MIN(include the cells)

=(click on the cell with the MAX value – click on the cell with the MIN value)

ex: =(B13-B14)

Once you have a formula correctly entered you can highlight the other cells you want to copy

that formula to and select Edit-Fill- and then down or right.

If you see a green triangle in the corner try adding a row (insert-row) in between any words

and your numbers.

**6. Next, paste the calculated measures of central tendency and variation for each value of
**

your MV in the tab you labeled “data analysis”. It will be easier to graph if you arrange it

that way. Below is an example:

The Effect of Type of Metal on the Rust Grown on a Nail

**Type of Metal Average weight of rust in grams
**

Iron 0.0456

Copper 0.0023

Nickel 0.0017

Tin 0.0004

**7. Using your data analysis tab, highlight both columns, one is the values of your MV and
**

one is the central tendency of all the trials, and then click on Insert-Chart

**The most important information to graph is the central tendency for each value of your MV.
**

Your graph should tell the story of what happened in your experiment. Other graphs, such as

growth over time, may be useful to explain your data as well. Your MV must always be on

the x-axis and the RV on the y-axis (remember DRY MIX). Use the graphing checklist to

help you.

**Last updated 11/23/10 by Megan Wahl 2
**

From this one graph you can actually explain what happened in your experiment. Can you tell

which type of metal grew the most rust? I bet a science fair judge could tell as well. Save this

chart as a new sheet, and then title the sheet average graph.

8. You will need to make another graph to show variation. To do this, you will repeat the same

process as above:

Using your data analysis tab, highlight both columns, one is the values of your MV and one

is the central tendency of all the trials, and then Insert-Chart.

When you are in Step 2 of the Chart Wizard, you will select Rows instead of Columns, with bars

of different colors:

:

**Last updated 11/23/10 by Megan Wahl 3
**

9. Enter your variation data (for example, standard deviation) into your graph as error bars.

To do this, double-click on one of the bars.

Click on Y Error Bars

**At the bottom, click on custom
**

and put the standard deviation

into the + and – boxes

Click okay

**Repeat for each bar, which
**

represents each value of your

MV

Remember to save your graphs as sheets and rename them so you can find them. Save often.

**Examine your results
**

carefully. Try explaining them

to a friend or a family

member. Explain what the

error bars mean. Remember

that standard deviation is like

uncertainty. If the error bars

overlap, no conclusion can

be drawn because the true

value could be anywhere

within the range of values in

the error bar.

**Last updated 11/23/10 by Megan Wahl 4
**

8. Complete the graphing checklist below. Have a friend or parent complete it as well.

9. When you are sure your data tables and graphs are error-free, take screen shots (shift-

apple-4) and paste the pictures into a word document. You will need to give each table

and graph a formal name, such as Table 1, Graph 1, Table 2, and so on.

10. Begin writing about your data- use the Rough Draft organizer to help you plan.

11. Use the example and rubric provided to help you revise your work to meet or exceed the

standard.

**Visit the wiki for examples and tips:
**

http://eighthgradescience.wikispaces.com/data

Last updated 11/23/10 by Megan Wahl 5

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