Investigatory projects are common assignments in high school science courses and often entered in science fairs. Students may complete investigatory projects in any scientific field, but the point is always to research or perform an experiment in a topic not currently under scrutiny. The "Methods of Research" or "Methodology" section of the paper written to accompany the project, if written well, helps others to repeat the process of the experiment.
Stating the materials in their exact quantities and proper names in your research paper proves crucial, because any misinformation can ruin a successful duplication. Detailing and outlining the process, step-by-step, also helps others complete the experiment exactly the same way. That said, the methodologies you used to complete the experiment merely reflect what you did, not what others must do.
The first part in explaining your methodology pertains to a question about what you investigated, known as a hypothesis, which helps other researchers understand why you undertook the experiment. Internal validity -- the relationship between the hypothesis and the outcome -- offers a truth to the experiment and attracts other researchers. Researchers typically test and re-test at least three times to have three different trials to ensure reliability, which means consistency between each trial of the experiment. If trials yield vastly different or inconsistent results each time, the experiment cannot be deemed reliable.
Through analysis, researchers synthesize information and determine an experiment's effectiveness. Statistics quantify the research to strengthen the analysis, while charts and graphs visibly display the results. Random experiments rank as the strongest research design models, because they automatically take into consideration the significance of reliability and validity in a research experiment.
A summary about the results and discussing the findings are essential in methodology. Summaries re-cap your entire methodology and, at the very end, identify any limitations you faced during your experiment. The summaries serve as a critical tool for other researchers before they replicate your experiment.
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