experiments are designed to demonstrate a particular principle discussed
in lecture. All of these exercises should work since they have been
tested prior to your arrival in the laboratory. This isn't how scientific
research is performed.
lesson you will formulate and answer your own research question. Your
question can be a water quality issue you have always wondered about,
a class topic you wish to explore in greater detail, or an issue that
has been in the news recently. Be sure that WOW data can provide an
answer to your question. Your final presentation is a scientific poster.
The "reporting results" section provides specific instructions
for formatting your final
reviewing what you know and what you would like to know about water
quality. Use the WOW data visualization tools as aids in your reflection
about water quality relationships. The Profile Plotter may be especially
useful in helping you see possible relationships among water quality
focus on no more than two variables. Record your thoughts, impressions,
and ideas on paper. Review these periodically. Think about relationships
among data. Think about relationships among the data and other external
environmental factors, such as rain, wind, sunlight, etc.
look at the following series of data visualization images from the Profile
Plotter that are shown below. What relationship(s) among the data
might you hypothesize based on these images?
more of the WOW data and working with the WOW data visualization tools,
use your reflections to form a hypothesis.
procedural plan for testing your hypothesis using WOW data. Identify
the data you need. Which WOW lake or lakes will you use for your data
collection? Consider how to explain the rationale for your decisions
about experimental design.
WOW site to collect the data you need. Remember your experimental design
should include detailed instructions for other researchers who might
want to examine the same data and check your results.
available include class notes, handouts, books in the library, and the
Internet. Additional resources are available on the WOW site. Clearly
reference any resources used in the data analysis in your final report.
Management and Analysis
that all experimental data consist of measurements that have one, rightmost
uncertain digit. Although the RUSS unit is a sophisticated robot, it
is still only a measurement tool. Be sure to consider how much you
each of the digits in any measurement.
data are found that defy the observed pattern. These are known as data
outliers. Rather than dismiss them as unimportant, try to determine
their cause. (e.g.: Is the probe working properly?) Sometimes outliers
lead to new and interesting interpretations of the data. Were there
any outliers in the data you collected? Be prepared to explain how you
chose to handle outliers in your data analysis.
tables of numbers can be difficult to understand. A better method is
to present the data in a visual or graphical format (i.e.: Excel). Remember
that graphs don't have to display the origin. Often subtle and important
variations are only observable if the graph axes are modified to expand
the data in question (Figure below).
advantage of Excel's multiple graphing ability (Figure below). It can
be very useful to display more than one graph at a time in order to
determine relationships between sets of data.
the following questions as you plan your poster and final presentation.
- Was data
collected by RUSS possibly affected by external factors?
- Is there
sufficient data to answer the research question?
- What is
the best way to display the data?
- Are there
additional experiments to conduct?
- Did you
find any outliers? How can the outliers be explained?
- Are there
- Is there
a new research question?
Results - Poster Format
are frequently used as means to display ongoing research and experimental
results. At scientific conferences, researchers gather in large auditoriums
to display their own work as well as examine the work of others. As
individuals circulate throughout the exhibits, they strike up conversations
and exchange ideas.
display the results of your RUSS data analysis on a poster (Figure below).
The lengths of various sections will vary from one poster to the next.
Each poster will consist of no more than six 8.5" x 11" pieces of paper
glued to tag board (2 rows, 3 columns). Individual pages are arranged
to be read from left to right.
must contain the following, clearly labeled sections:
- Title -
An adaptation of the assigned research question.
- Introduce the research question, the data analyzed, and the analysis
and Discussion - Display only necessary data. Data presented must
be discussed in the text. Discuss data trends, correlations, and outliers.
- Summarize the data analysis and compose the answer to the research
question. Are there additional experiments to conduct? Are there unanswered
must be in 24 point font except section titles that appear in 36 point
font. Lines should be double spaced with 0.5" margins (top/bottom/left/right).
Left justify all text. Use the spelling and grammar checker. Hand written
notes and comments are not allowed.
must be clearly labeled. Use these labels when referring to graphs in
text (Example: Figure 1, Figure 2). Graph axis titles must be included
and correctly positioned. Hand written notes and comments are unacceptable.
must be properly titled. Columns and rows should be correctly labeled.
Hand written notes and comments are unacceptable.