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Data Analysis and Science Reports

This page is about understanding how to interpret data in order to write a great science report. Most of the links below are related to writing an student experiment report, but there is one to an exemplar research assignment. The links below show different levels of work, from beginner (middle school) to more expert levels (senior sciences).

A guide to data Analysis for beginners
Examples of data and data analysis
Exemplar - simpler but uses senior QCAA structure. A more complex senior exemplar is listed below.

A guide to writing a senior student investigation
An exemplar senior student investigation

An exemplar research assignment

Data analysis for beginners

A detailed but simple (for advanced junior students) explanation of how to analyse data. The point of view is to show middle school students how data is evaluated in senior school. very much laying the groundwork, so that the students become more comfortable with the senior style of analysis. This is NOT a how to write a report document, just what I use in my advanced junior classes to complete some class exercises in data analysis.

Examples of data and data analysis in the middle school

Data sets
I have used in class(*) and some I have not used yet. Note, this work suits advanced students mainly.

*Simple data on sugar and respiration Great one to start with, simple and a general science idea which does not require much teaching.

*Leaf temp and light intensity effect on photosynthesis. Two sets of data in this one. You could do them each as separate data sets.

The effect of salt on osmosis in potatoes. This is data my yr 8 class (a very advanced year 8 class) collected and analysed.

GPE and KE task and data (experiment). This was an other experiment my yr 8 class did and wrote data analysis for. An exemplar for the class is below.

REd foxes and predation. This is complicated data but shows tremendous connections between the data sets. Did not use in class.

Microbial growth rates. very complicated data - for exeptional middle school students, or senior students.

Examples of Data analysis using the data above. Take note, these are not perfect, I have often taken short cuts to keep the word length down. But they are exemplars for Junior school( up to year ten) If you are in senior school and using these to get a start, then you must realise there needs to be more use of data to support decisions and conclusions.

Analysis of the sugar and Respiration data.

Analysis of the leaf temp and light intensity on photosynthesis.

Analysis of the Salt in Potatoes data. This was written by one of my yr 8 students and I typed it up. Absolutely outstanding work.

The GPE and KE task, with data analysis added.

not live yet

Exemplar of a student investigation

A student investigation exemplar. Read this - I use this exemplar widely, with a range of classes as it is hard to provide a range of exemplars written at different levels. I edit it (for example, drop out the error proagation), depending on the class I am using it for. It is an excellent exemplar for beginning senior school students (yrs 10 and 11) - of course that is my opinion only! This exemplar is fairly dated, and I would love to write one speciffically for senior students, but coming up with a simple topic which cannot be used by a student is difficult. I managed it with the research investigation (see below), but am stuck for a topic for an experiment report.

Senior School guide to writing a student investigation

Write a GREAT student experiment 2021.docx This has been reedited and hopefully improved. Less complex language and more approachable.

Exemplar - Senior student investigation

Senior School Student investigation Exemplar Read this This exemplar uses Chemistry data released by the QCAA in a 2019 high level exemplar. Unfortunately that report contained several very significant errors of fact (rate law). However, as the QCAA has already released the report, students have generally not been allowed to do this actual experiment, so I figured I could use the data to write my own exemplar. This is an early draft, and I have not annotated it yet. If you read it using the guide (above) side by side, you will clearlly see how I target the criteria and getting a high mark. I am adding annotation over the next week or so, and maybe fix any errors that my students find, but it's pretty good. Time to let it be out there.


The best pet for you. See disclaimer below.
PLEASE READ THIS - VERY IMPORTANT. - This is a senior school research Investigation. It is based on a claim "dogs are better than cats". This may sound like a weird claim, but I needed something that a senior science student could relate to (so, simple idea), but not a topic that a student could actually use for their own research investigation.
The first key step is to understand the claim and break it down to possible RQs. I took the idea of dogs are better than cats (my claim), and went to AI. By asking various Qs of the AI, i got the idea of owning a dog was benefitial to their owners. This gave me the basic form of my RQ - pet dogs versus pet cats in terms of benefit to the owner. Time for step 2.
The second key step is finding data which allows you to be "specific". I found data which allowed me to narrow the "benefit" idea (too broad) into 2 specific criteria. Now I had data, and a specific and relevent RQ. Time for step 3.
The third key step is simply writing the investigation. My biggest gripe with students is that they do NOT write to the criteria. My exemplar is not supposed to be a "great" assignment, it is designed to meet every criteria - and in the QCAA model, that is what you need to do.
The article will open in the review pane on micrsoft word. I have included comments for almost all the paragraphs explaining what and why I do things. Essentially, I give a blow by blow explanation of how I try to meet all the criteria. It's not you I would have liked more time. But this has been drafted about 3 to 10 times (depending on the section), so I am willing to live with the errors present. Please feel free to let me know if you identify any major errors.
And yes... it is nearly 2400 words. I can lose several paragraphs which are not needed (i included them as examples of work which are pretty common, but just not relevent to the data i used in this investigation). I would also trim the description of the data sources by removing authors and rewording.

Gary Turner Science
QLD Alan Druery Excellence in Teaching Award (QCT)
QLD Secondary Teacher of the year Award (AISTL)
QLD Centenary of Federation Teaching Award (RACI)
Peter Doherty Excellence in Science Teaching Award
Prime Minister Commendation for Science Education Award