jhhoover
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Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby jhhoover » Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:14 am

If a student finds a discovery outside the hypothesis, how should that discovery be presented? Should the hypothesis be changed? (A related discovery outside the hypothesis was observed in the statistical analysis after the experimentation phase.)

EmmaGriffiths
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Re: Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby EmmaGriffiths » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:38 pm

Hello, welcome to the Ask an Expert forums!

This is a space where students, parents, and educators can receive advice and/or guidance on their science fair projects. Are you working on a science project? If so, providing more information about your project will ensure that the response you receive is helpful and precise. If not, there are other resources that may better fit your needs.

Regarding your question, lets first understand what a hypothesis is. A hypothesis is a statement in response to a scientific question; it is testable and should be backed up with some sort of scientific reasoning.

Scientists make hypotheses as predictions. Very often, a scientist's hypothesis is negated by the evidence found in an experiment. That is okay! Since a hypothesis is a prediction made before analyzing evidence, it should not be changed after the evidence has been obtained. Rather, you should focus your energy on understanding why the hypothesis was wrong. Regardless, you have gained new information that may lead you in the right direction.

I've included a link to some more information about writing a hypothesis. There is a section about what to do if your hypothesis is wrong, so that may be worth reading.

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/writing-a-hypothesis

Again, please let us know if you are in need of help on a science fair project. We are always happy to help :)

Good luck,
Emma

cnoonan180
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Re: Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby cnoonan180 » Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:06 am

Hello!

It’s not necessary for the hypothesis to be changed, rather, you can present this discovery as an outlier. Note that it is okay for a hypothesis to be incorrect or not supported by your findings as a hypothesis is an educated guess. An outlier in the data is a result, observation, or point on any graphs created using results from the experiment (assuming that you/the student made graphs using the data you collected) that differs from the vast majority of the observed results. The discovery or observation you mentioned seems to be an outlier.

When one presenting data and speaking about how the hypothesis was either proved correct or incorrect based on findings, the discovery can be presented as an outlier, or something that doesn’t agree with the rest of the findings/observations.

There is also a mathematical way to calculate outliers in data (using some basic statistics that are learned in 6-8th grade math classes), and if you are curious about this, please feel free to ask more questions!

Here’s a link to an explanation of how to calculate an outlier as well as a calculator tool to help you perform the calculations or check them over.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... jwdQuyguBa

Hope this helps!
-cnoonan180

Yasmin_Hussain
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Re: Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby Yasmin_Hussain » Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:12 pm

the hypothesis should not be changed. it is because the hypothesis is a conclusion we made before the experiment. so just let it be since the real result could change. you may have to mention at the end of the experiment that your result doesn't match the hypotesis

hedybian
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Re: Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby hedybian » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:50 pm

Hi!
There's nothing wrong with the hypothesis not aligning with the discoveries found in the experiment. Since the hypothesis was made prior to experimentation, it is absolutely understandable that the results may have some inconsistencies with the hypothesis proposed. In your conclusion, you should explain the discoveries that were found and possibly propose an explanation as to why these discoveries were made, as well as a scientific reason for why they possibly did not align with your hypothesis. Were there any experimental errors? Fallacies? Variables that could have altered your results? Discuss these discontinuities in your conclusion and tie that back into your hypothesis.

Hope this helps!
Hedy

lmp1341
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Re: Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby lmp1341 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:06 am

Hello!
You have asked an excellent question. This is a question that pertains to professional scientists as well, so I'm very glad that you've asked it! My teammates have done an excellent job of answering your question, but I wanted to add my perspective, even if a little repetitive, just so that you can have many different resources available to you when you write up your experiment.
The fact that you made a discovery outside of the hypothesis is great!! You can include this in your write-up, and mention it in the conclusion section of your project when you describe the data and evidence you collected and how you analyzed it. Be sure to focus on your original hypothesis in the conclusion also, though.
There are many different scenarios as to obtaining surprising data, and the one I've described above seems like it would fit your project, but I'll include a few others as well.
Data that supports a NULL HYPOTHESIS is another type of conclusion altogether. This means that when you've analyzed your results, you find that your data supports the exact opposite of what you had originally predicted. This is OKAY!! It's actually great, because science experiments are not about proving the hypothesis to be correct, rather they're about broadening the scope of knowledge that you have about a particular subject, and finding correlations or relationships between variables. When you find that your data supports the Null-Hypothesis (opposite of what you originally predicted), you should not change your hypothesis, but your conclusion should talk about your findings and the opposite effect it had.

Very often in science projects or science in general, there's a large focus on being "right", or "proving" something. When you can understand that science is all about discovery and observation and gathering data to broaden knowledge and it's not at all about "proving" anything, that is when you truly become a real-life scientist :) I think that by reading our answers to your question, you'll come to understand this, and there you have it; a real scientist!! It's your duty to apply this knowledge to your project and spread the word to as many people as possible; science is discovery, not being right.

I'm very happy that you asked this question, and it's a question I could spend hours discussing, but for now, this is the end of my answer. I truly hope that was helpful, and if you have any more questions, please post again and we'll be happy to help!!

Good luck with your project!

Stay nerdy,
lmp1341

jhhoover
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Re: Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby jhhoover » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:28 am

Thank you all for the very helpful responses. The original hypothesis was indeed validated, but the topic was bland with predictable results. At least now a new attention-grabbing hypothesis can be planned for next year with tailored research to focus on what was discovered this year by accident. Thanks again.

redlionone
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Re: Discovery Outside the Hypothesis

Postby redlionone » Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:23 am

Scientific discovery is the process or product of successful scientific inquiry. Objects of discovery can be things, events, processes, causes, and properties as well as theories and hypotheses and their features


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