Doing scientific research is not an easy task, especially if you are a high school student. Creating conditions for yourself to learn how to do scientific research can be tricky at times. Make sure that your environment is conducive to learning!
There are many ways to get started doing scientific research. This article will go over some of the basics such as conducting experiments, using mathematical formulas to analyze data, and more. Once you have mastered these skills, then you can advance to more advanced levels like creating equations or experimenting with substances.
This article will also discuss what types of materials you can use to conduct your experiment, how to account for any errors during measurement or experimentation, and what resources are available to you. It will not, however, include how to write up your findings because that is very different depending on what field you choose to study in.
Pick a topic
Doing scientific research is not like doing any other type of writing. You will need to pick a topic, do some research about that topic, and then create an article or report based on your findings!
As you are learning how to do science, there are many different areas that can be explored.
Any area of science can provide insight into various topics. For example, studying biology can help you understand nutrition, psychology, genetics, and more.
When choosing your area, think about what you know already and what questions people have about the field. Then, determine if there are any books or websites that talk about such concepts as theory and practice.
Theory is what most people learn in school, but it is difficult to apply in the real world. Practice is moving forward with something new.
Find a research topic
Finding a research area is one of the most important steps towards doing scientific research. You will need to do some additional studying before you can pick your topic!
The first thing you will want to do is find an area of study that is interesting to you. If something or someone close to you is working on it, that’s a great way to get started.
You could also read about related topics to see what types of studies people have done within that field.
Once you find your area of interest, determine if there are any current trends happening with that subject. Are more students becoming interested in this material? Is there a conference coming up where others can learn more about it?
If so, attending these events is a good next step. And don’t forget to bring your notebook and lots of pens! You never know when inspiration will hit.
Write your outline
Now that you have determined what topic you will be writing about, it is time to start drafting your main idea and creating an initial structure of the essay.
Your main idea should be a sentence or two long. After that, you can build off of that by supporting with more details and examples.
Conduct the research
Doing scientific research is not just writing an article or picking up a book and studying it, it is conducting experiments and using appropriate tools to analyze the results. This can mean designing your own experiment or finding someone else’s that you can adapt to fit yours needs!
There are many ways to do this including experimenting with liquids, gases, solids, and mathematical formulas. You will have to determine what parameter of the experiment you want to change (for example, changing the temperature changes liquid-to-solid transition so altering the temperature is like changing the material from which the solution comes) and how to properly manipulate those parameters.
Knowing when to stop your experiment is another important part as you would want the result to stay the same for this to be considered scientific research!
If you are ever unsure whether your experimentation meets the requirements of science, talk to people who know about science and get some help. There are always peers or professors around that could aid you in determining if your experiments meet our criteria.
Running your experiments by them ensures they meet our standards and helps us understand the meaning of terms such as ‘scientific method’ and ‘hypothesis’.
Organize your results
The next step is organizing your results! Once you have done all of your experiments, the final thing to do is organize them into categories and determine what conclusions can be drawn from each one.
You will want to make sure that you are using appropriate vocabulary when referring to your experiment parts or steps. For example, if you conducted an experiment involving boiling water, then you would describe the liquid as being heated, the temperature as it changed while heating, and whether the bottle was empty or not as additional variables.
When conducting scientific research, there are several different ways to organize your data. You can use systematic, random, or mixed approaches to classification.
A systematic approach goes beyond just having a category for hot and a separate one for cold. It also includes other terms such as polar (zero percent heat) and nonpolar (100% heat). These concepts apply to liquids, gases, and solids.
A systematic organization method uses more detailed categories to identify specific properties of the material being tested. For instance, if you were testing the effect that shape had on the solidification process of molten metals, you could create another categorical group called Shape. Within this group, you could make comparisons between spheres, rods, and cubes.
Edit your writing
Even if you are very good at speaking, writing is an area that can be improved upon. When teaching yourself how to do scientific research, there’s nothing wrong with going through this process multiple times until you get it right!
Writing for accuracy can sometimes feel like a tedious task, but I assure you it is not. It will instead make you more confident in your ability to use appropriate vocabulary, structure the topic and message clearly, and produce solid arguments based off of sound premises.
Editing your writing will help you learn how to do scientific research. And once you understand how to put together an argument using evidence, you’ll be able to apply these concepts towards other topics as well.
Publish your blog post
As mentioned earlier, you will need to use an online publishing platform to publish your scientific research. Many good websites offer free limited features so that you can test the waters before investing in their paid service plan!
Some of these sites are WordPress, Blogger, or Medium. You get to choose which one is the best fit for you as well as how you want to organize your content.
Most have easy to use editing tools so you can edit your article, image, or video files. Some allow you to add additional decorations such as headers and footers. Others let you link directly to another website or file to give credit for the information included.
Overall, most provide intuitive user interfaces that do not require too much technical knowledge. These apps also typically have lots of resources available to help you create your post even if you are creating it solo.
As we have seen, doing scientific research includes creating a manuscript, presenting it to other people for critique, and then publishing your work! But that’s only half of the process!
After you publish your paper, you must be able to read others’ comments on it and respond to them! What if someone disagrees with your findings? Or what if they put forward an idea similar to yours but slightly different? You will need to evaluate their arguments and prove why theirs is wrong or misguided.
This is where most high school students get stuck. When someone questions your work or ideas, it can make you feel defensive and hurt.
Instead of responding to the criticism, try looking at the argument from the other person’s perspective. Ask yourself how likely it is that they are right. If you find it hard to believe that they might be correct, chances are you could use some more lessons about science.
Alternatively, ask yourself whether there are any possible reasons why their approach would not work. By thinking through these possibilities, you will probably come up with several. In those cases, it makes sense to look closer at the methods you used and see whether they worked.
If you do this, then your original conclusion will stand stronger because you took time to consider all reasonable alternatives.