Physics Experiment Report Format

Physics Experiment Report Format

Name:

Title:

Hypothesis:

Overview:

Procedure: See Experiment Instructions

Data Table:  See Experiment data sheet(s)

Uncertainty & Error:

Conclusion/Summary:

Application:

______________________________________________________________________

NOTES FOR EACH HEADING:

Name: Do not expect credit if not included.

Title: The experiment name. Do not include the Module number. Again, do not expect credit if not included.

Hypothesis: Statement that the experiment is going to test, prove, or disprove. What is the point of the experiment? (Make a statement that the experiment will either clearly prove or disprove.)

  • NOT a hypothesis: “To prove the Conservation of Momentum/Newton’s Third Law” or “What happens when I drop/swing a ball on a Newton’s Cradle.”
  • IS a hypothesis: “Using the law of conservation of momentum, releasing X number of balls on one side of the line of balls will result in the same number of balls being propelled outward on the opposite side with the same velocity and momentum.” While the hypothesis does not need to be so detailed or long, it does need to make a statement specific enough to be testable in order to prove or disprove.

Overview: Brief summary of what was tested, how it was tested, and what occurred in the experiment (as in the general actions or procedures). Should include specifics (or at least some aspects) of the hypothesis.

Procedures:  See Experiment Instructions (use this phrase; do not include actual procedures from the experiment).

Data Table:  See Experiment Data Table (use this phrase; do not include actual data or tables from the experiment).

Uncertainty & Error:  Can you trust your data?

Considerations:

  1. What factors may have affected or biased the data and introduced uncertainty in the experiment measurements? Or, what conditions created uncertainty in your measurements? Which measurements were most affected?”
  2. If you were conducting the experiment in a physical environment, what other factors would have to be taken into account while accomplishing the procedures? How might they affect the data and/or experiment outcome?

Conclusion/Summary:  This section must contain each of the items listed below. Although you are now the one speaking, of your personal results, you will still wish to retain your professional detachment (i.e., avoid using “I” as much as possible). Although this is merely an example, it does contain all the requisite components. You may write this section how you see fit, as long as the items annotated are included. However, a checklist or bullet list is not acceptable. The clarity and flow of your conclusion/summary should make clear to any ready what you did in the experiment and how it turned out.

“In this experiment, XXX (idea or concept) was tested (or simply restate your hypothesis). This was done by (how you did it—brief description of above procedures/overview). The results were/indicated that (what you learned or proved/disproved—again, hypothesis). Some errors that may have occurred with this experiment include (possible errors/flaws—must include at least one). In the future, XXX (changes, additions, deletions or other suggested improvements) should be considered to enhance the experiment.

Application: How does this topic—and science in general—impact our understanding of the complex, technological society of which we are a part? How does this explain something in the real world around you? Give specific examples.

Poor example:

“Knowing this helps in commerce and shipping.” (Vague, does not add clarity—HOW does it help?).

Good example:

“Proper understanding and calculation of density/weight and buoyancy ensure boats and ships are not overloaded, which is critical for the safe shipping of materials on the world’s oceans and rivers. Additionally, being able to calculate volume displacement enables shippers to mark shipping and passenger vessels with water lines, or Plimsoll lines, to indicate maximum load displacement.”

The Good example above is more detailed and expansive than required (italicized portion), but it is given as an example to show the degree of clarity and specificity expected.

Note: simply rehashing the experiment results is not an application:

Ex: “A more thorough and clear knowledge on how time and acceleration is affected by an object’s mass is provided by this experiment.”

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