Science Fair Quick Links:

Developing a Testable QuestionPlanning to Test Your Question  |  Understanding/Analyzing Your Data  |  Explaining It All  |  Additional Resources

Planning to Test Your Question

You have done the hardest part! You have your testable question. Now it is time to determine how you will test your question. There are many different kinds of tests, or methods, you can use, but the kind of method you use depends on the question you have.

How to be methodical

 

Background Research: What is already known?

It is important that you already have in mind what the answer to your question might be. If you are not very familiar with your topic, and even if you are, you might want to consider doing some background research, or find and read general information from reliable sources.

Hypothesis: What do you think might happen?
Once you have learned what is already known about your topic, you are ready to make an educated guess, or hypothesis, as to what the answer to your question will be.

Hypothesis Testing: What can you measure?
Now that you have an idea, or a hypothesis, as to what the answer to your question will be, think about what evidence you will need to know whether you are right or not.

Data Collection: How can you collect evidence?
Now, how can you collect that evidence? Do you need to make observations, ask questions, or manipulate something to see what happens? These are called data collection methods.

If you need to manipulate something to see what happens, then you will want to do an
experiment.

Asking questions can be done through
surveys and interviews. Using tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey, for example, can help you not only deliver your questions but also collect responses and analyze them.

Observations can also be helpful in answering a question.

Light Buld of AwarenessSee what these Forest Service scientists do to plan to test their questions.

 

So which method is right for you? 

It all depends on your question: 

  • What is already known?
  • What do you think might happen?
  • What evidence is needed to know whether it happened or not?
  • What can you measure?
  • How can you collect this evidence?

Light Buld of AwarenessThink backwards! Think about the evidence you need and then decide how to best collect that evidence. 

 

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Resources

You can learn more about how to test your question below or the resources found on our resources page.