Best Practices for Science Research Labs

IA’s or Internal Assessments form a crucial part of your final mark with their relative weight being around a quarter (24%) of the total. Thus, it is key to score well, in order to secure your target grade (hopefully a 7).

Below are a list of best practices for writing up your IA.

Introduction and Variables

  1. The opening paragraph/s clearly state the independent variable along with metric units and range.
  2. Opening paragraph/s clearly states the dependent variable along with metric units and range.

Method Section

  1. Method gathers a minimum of five (5) variations of the independent variable and explicitly states when to record these variations.
  2. Method gathers a minimum of three (3) trials for each variation and explicitly states when to record these trials
  3. Method is clear enough that a peer could perform the investigation without coaching.
  4. Method explains how the independent variable is manipulated. Method clearly provides an appropriate range of values for the independent variable. Method clearly explains how and when the independent variable is measured and recorded. Instrumentation measuring independent variable is clearly described / annotated.
  5. The method is repeatable by peers.
  6. Method clearly explains how and when the dependent variable is measured and recorded. Instrumentation measuring the dependent variable is clearly described / annotated. Method will provide data that will produce a function.
  7. The method is repeatable by peers
  8. An equipment / material list is provided to meet the requirements of the method.

Tables and Graphs

  1. Correct number of significant figures is evident in the dependent variable column.
  2. Processed table has meaningful title interpretable at a glance.
  3. Column headings are clear and correct with name, symbol / units, uncertainty.
  4. Vertical and Horizontal axis clearly labeled with variable name, symbol / units.
  5. Graph clearly shown of maximum and minimum slopes allowed by first and last error bars.
  6. Calculation of slope uncertainty is clearly shown on or near the slope uncertainty graph.
  7. Intercept and intercept uncertainty are shown together including correct units on or near the uncertainty graphs.

Conclusion

  1. Clearly states the outcome of the investigation.
  2. Clearly states and interprets the slope and its uncertainty both symbolically and in words.
  3. Clearly states and interprets the intercept and its uncertainty both symbolically and in words.

Citations

  1. Use MLA citations as footnotes: http://www.citationmachine.net/mla/cite-a-book

Physics IA Guide