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content provider: the Science Buddies
published by the Science Buddies
The Science Buddies website aims to promote deep understanding of scientific research through student science fair projects. This segment of the website provides explicit help in preparing an experimental design. It includes key information about:

1) Setting up experimental and control groups,
2) Sample materials lists,
3) How to write a detailed procedure,
4) The meaning of reliability and how it is impacted by sample size.
Editor's Note: Reliability in research is defined as the extent to which results are consistent over time, how accurately the results represent the total population under study, and whether the results can be reproduced under similar methodologies. It's important for students in the middle grades to become acquainted with reliability as a concept, and for high school students to gain practice in setting up experiments that meet criteria of reliability. See Related Materials for background information on understanding reliability and validity in scientific research.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Research Design & Methodology
Education Practices
- Informal Education
General Physics
- General
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- Middle School
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Curriculum support
= Student Guide
= Tutorial
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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© 2002 Science Buddies
Duplication of images or graphics from Science Buddies website is forbidden.
Science Practices, Science fair, control group, engineering design, engineering practices, experimental design, fair test, research reliability, science fair project, science project, scientific method, variables
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 18, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 18, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 2, 2011

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 3-5: 1B/E1. Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments.
  • 6-8: 1B/M1b. Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
1C. The Scientific Enterprise
  • 6-8: 1C/M7. Accurate record-keeping, openness, and replication are essential for maintaining an investigator's credibility with other scientists and society.

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem (ETS1.A)
  • The more precisely a design task's criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that is likely to limit possible solutions. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World (2-12)
  • Science findings are limited to questions that can be answered with empirical evidence. (5)

Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
  • Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include investigations that use multiple variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions. (6-8)
    • Plan an investigation individually and collaboratively, and in the design: identify independent and dependent variables and controls, what tools are needed to do the gathering, how measurements will be recorded, and how many data are needed to support a claim. (6-8)
    • Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that can meet the goals of the investigation. (6-8)
  • Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models. (9-12)
    • Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly. (9-12)
Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods (K-12)
  • Scientific inquiry is characterized by a common set of values that include: logical thinking, precision, open-mindedness, objectivity, skepticism, replicability of results, and honest and ethical reporting of findings. (9-12)
Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence (K-12)
  • Science knowledge is based upon logical connections between evidence and explanations. (6-8)
  • Science disciplines share common rules of obtaining and evaluating empirical evidence. (6-8)
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Science Buddies, Carmel, 2002), WWW Document, (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experimental_procedure.shtml#keyinfo).
Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure (Science Buddies, Carmel, 2002), <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experimental_procedure.shtml#keyinfo>.
APA Format
Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure. (2011, September 2). Retrieved July 25, 2014, from Science Buddies: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experimental_procedure.shtml#keyinfo
Chicago Format
Science Buddies. Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure. Carmel: Science Buddies, September 2, 2011. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experimental_procedure.shtml#keyinfo (accessed 25 July 2014).
MLA Format
Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure. Carmel: Science Buddies, 2002. 2 Sep. 2011. Science Buddies. 25 July 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experimental_procedure.shtml#keyinfo>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure}, Publisher = {Science Buddies}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {25 July 2014}, Month = {September 2, 2011}, Year = {2002} }
Refer Export Format

%T Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure
%D September 2, 2011
%I Science Buddies
%C Carmel
%U http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experimental_procedure.shtml#keyinfo
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D September 2, 2011
%T Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure
%I Science Buddies
%V 2014
%N 25 July 2014
%8 September 2, 2011
%9 text/html
%U http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experimental_procedure.shtml#keyinfo

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Science Buddies: Experimental Procedure:

Is Supplemented By Understanding Reliability and Validity in Research

A scholarly paper that explains criteria for establishing reliability and validity in both quantitative and qualitative research.

relation by Caroline Hall

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