In science what is an answering variable

University Didactics & Teaching Development

3. Introduction / theoretical part: Put the experiment into context

Step 1

  • If you are having trouble writing a good introductory sentence for the minutes, here are some suggestions: "This experiment covers X ..."; This experiment focuses on X ... ";" This experiment supports the understanding of X ... ";" In this experiment X is observed / evaluated / examined. ". Or start with a definition of the scientific concept:" X is a theory about ... ".
  • When you have your opening sentence, you are ready to complete the first paragraph by describing what you know about the scientific concept. Here it is important to show the assistant that you have a good understanding of the scientific concept behind the experiment. Revise the rest of your answer to PreLab question 1 by:
    • focus so that only the information appears in your protocol that is most closely related to your experiment (and not all information that is available at all).
    • Add other relevant information about the concept that you have learned since answering the PreLab.
    • rewrite so that the scientific concept really fits the experiment (this is the case if your answer to the PreLab question was wrong).
  • If you have a lot more to say about the scientific concept, write more than one paragraph.
  • This part of the introduction is written in the present tense.

For advanced internships:
If you write a protocol that looks more like an academic article, you need to do more research (on the internet or in the library). With the help of your assistant, you should look for the current literature on the topic in question. Summarize these in about a paragraph and highlight what the current state of research is by describing general results. This summary should follow the introductory sentence on the scientific concept. For help with citing, see Citing and Referencing.

2nd step

  • If your answer to question 2 was a whole list of goals, revise it and summarize the most important goals in your own words. You should show that you understand what you should be doing in this experiment. For most experiments, this can be done in one or two sentences. You can start the paragraph with a phrase such as "The main aim of this experiment was ..." or "The aim of this experiment is to prove that ...".
  • Continue the paragraph with a revised version of your answer to question 3. Show that you have understood the purpose of the experiment. Make it clear how the results of the experiment helped you understand the scientific concept behind the experiment. For example, you can start like this: "The goals of this experiment enabled me to understand concept X through ..." or "The formulation of the goals helped me understand X by seeing the results ...".
  • This part of the introduction is usually written in the past tense.
  • If you have defined the scientific concept more clearly since working on the PreLab questions, revise your protocol accordingly.

3rd step

  • Rewrite your original hypothesis so that it becomes clear that it is a hypothesis: "The hypothesis relating to the attempt was ..." or "It was expected that ..."
  • End the paragraph with the help of your answer to question 5. Explain how you came to this hypothesis. In explaining your conclusions, you should establish the direct link between the hypothesis and the scientific concept behind the experiment. Write so that the reader understands that you used your understanding of the concept to predict the outcome of the experiment. Refer to the first paragraph of your introduction.
  • One way to make your explanation understandable is to use words that describe causal relationships: because, because of, because of, therefore, there, because, thus, consequently, etc. An example: "Since X happens to the energy To maximize, it has been hypothesized that ... ".
  • If your explanation is getting long, break it up into several paragraphs.


without PreLab

Step 1

  • If you have difficulty writing a good first sentence, use a phrase such as: "This experiment relates to ...", "This experiment is about X ...", "In the context of this experiment ..." , "With the help of this experiment, X can be observed / explained / understood.". You can also use a definition of the scientific concept: "The theory X explains ..." or "With the help of the X-concept ..."
  • Once you have your first sentence, you can complete the introductory paragraph by writing down what you know about the scientific concept. The point is to show the assistant that you understand this concept. Look at PreLab question 1 again and:
    • Focus your answer so that it only contains the information about the scientific concept, which then clearly relates to the experiment carried out (not to everything that is available on the topic).
    • Revise your answer so that the concept really fits the experiment. This is particularly important if you have given a wrong answer while processing the PreLab questions.
  • If you write a lot about the scientific concept, break your text up into several paragraphs.
  • This part of the introduction is mostly written in the present tense.

For advanced internships:

If you are writing a protocol that is more like an academic article, you may need to do further research (online or in the library). Your assistant will help you search the current literature for other results on this research topic. Summarize this research in a paragraph or two by describing what the results were and how they affect current knowledge. This summary should be followed by an introductory sentence about the scientific concept. For more information on citing literature, skip to the section on citing and referencing.

2nd step

  • Goals are usually the activities you should do in order to complete the experiment. These steps are often listed in the script. By writing down the goals in your own words, you show that you have understood what you should achieve as part of the experiment. For most experiments, you should be able to describe this in one or two sentences. You can start something like this: "The most important goals of this experiment were ..." or "In the context of this experiment ... should be done." This is the beginning of the paragraph.
  • Now explain the purpose of the experiment. In doing so, you create the important link between what you did in the laboratory (the goals) and the sense in which you carried out this experiment: to learn something about the scientific concept behind the experiment. Reread your goals. How did the implementation of the experiment, i.e. the achievement of these goals, help you to learn something about the scientific concept? For example, start with: "With the help of the goals of this experiment, I was able to understand X." or "Performing the experiment helped me understand X by ...".
  • This part of the introduction is usually written in the past tense.

3rd step

  • Write your hypothesis in such a way that it can be recognized as a hypothesis: "The hypothesis relating to the experiment was ..." or "It was expected that ...".
  • Often hypotheses are formulated with the help of variables or other experimental elements. Make sure you are using the original hypothesis that you had BEFORE you did the experiment.
  • A variable is what you measure or manipulate while experimenting. Variables allow scientists to structure their observations. Identifying the various variables of an experiment will help you develop a solid understanding of the experiment and what the key results will be.
  • To identify these variables, read the implementation in the test script. Determine what you will measure and manipulate. What you change is called an independent or manipulated variable, what you measure or observe is called a dependent or responsive variable. Write down all dependent and independent variables.
  • In advanced internships you may have several dependent or independent variables.

Think again about all phases of the experiment:

  • What is the relationship between the individual variables?
  • Is there more than one dependent and / or independent variable that you recorded during the experiment?
  • How do the recorded data of a partial experiment help you for the following steps?
  • If there are multiple variables, which ones will help you answer the internship questions? That means, what variables do you use to formulate your hypothesis?

4th step

  • In explaining your conclusions, you should establish the direct link between the hypothesis and the scientific concept behind the experiment. Write so that the reader understands that you used your understanding of the concept to predict the outcome of the experiment. Refer to the first paragraph of your introduction.
  • One way to make your explanation understandable is to use words that describe causal relationships: because, because of, because of, therefore, there, because, thus, consequently, etc. An example: "Since X happens to the energy To maximize, it has been hypothesized that ... ".
  • If your explanation is getting long, break it up into several paragraphs.