Four types of Scientific Investigation

Scientific investigation is a way of knowing and understanding something about the world or universe around us. There are different ways to go about scientific investigation. The following is a list of four general ways to do science

Type of Investigation
Advantages
Disadvantages
Examples
Controlled, manipulated experiment
Provides the best evidence for cause and effect
Generally done on simplified systems or in the lab.
How does the amount of fertilizer affect the growth of plants?
Comparative study
Provides real data from real systems
Does not always allow for cause and effect to be determined
A study comparing the amount of snow accumulation on north and south facing slopes.
Descriptive study
Provides detailed information about a system
Results are highly specific and lack generality
A description, including diagrams and measurements of the parts of a specific type of flower.
Innovation
High relevancy to society
Results are highly specific
Build a device that stirs aquarium water when the oxygen level gets too low.
Copy the correct set of subheadings below to your science fair page.

Controlled, manipulated experiment

What is your experimental unit?

This is the base unit of your experiment, for example, one plant, one ice cube, one dish. It is the thing you will be measuring.

Number Of Trials:

This is how many times you will repeat the experiment.

Number Of Subjects In Each trial:

This is the number of different treatments you will use. For example, if you are comparing rust formation using salt and no salt, there would be 2 subjects in each trial. If you were comparing rust formation with no salt and three different amounts of salt, then you would have 4 subjects in each trial.

Number of Observations:

How many measurements will you take for each experimental unit times the number or trials

When data will be collected

Looking for an actual date or dates here. This is requiring you to commit to your project.

Where will data be collected?:

Be specific.

Comparative Study

Number Of Comparison Categories:

How many different things you will be comparing

Number of Comparison Samples:

How many samples of each different thing above.

Number Of Observation In Each Sample:

For each comparison, how many things will you be measuring?

When data will be collected

Looking for an actual date or dates here. This is requiring you to commit to your project.

Where will data be collected?:

Be specific.

Descriptive Study

Item or process to be described:

What is it?

Methods of observation:

This should include both Quatitative Measurements as well as Qualitative Observations

How many sample will you use to form your description?

You should base your description on more than one thing.

Measurements to be collected:

Please list

When data will be collected

Looking for an actual date or dates here. This is requiring you to commit to your project.

Where will data be collected?:

Be specific.

Innovation

What is your experimental unit?

This is the base unit of your experiment, for example, one plant, one ice cube, one dish. It is the thing you will be measuring.

Number Of Trials:

This is how many times you will repeat the experiment.

Number Of Subjects In Each trial:

This is the number of different treatments you will use. For example, if you are comparing rust formation using salt and no salt, there would be 2 subjects in each trial. If you were comparing rust formation with no salt and three different amounts of salt, then you would have 4 subjects in each trial.

Number of Observations:

How many measurements will you take for each experimental unit times the number or trials

When data will be collected

Looking for an actual date or dates here. This is requiring you to commit to your project.

Where will data be collected?:

Be specific.