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Physics IA - Design HELP

I have this draft design due soon for a physics IA, I have been given my topic which is factors affecting how a paper helicopter falls to the ground and have come up with my aim, variables etc. Problem is I don't know what to include in the design. I have been told doing a hypothesis is not necessary and so far have put Aim, Variables and how to control the variables but don't know if that is all the design consists of, any helpful advice and tips would be greatly appreciated.

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I haven't actually done a design in physics, but this is information from reading the syllabus and having a talk in class about it. I recommend putting in a hypothesis because it adds depth to your design. You also need to include background theory, materials and apparatus, even a sketch would probably enhance your design. I recommend asking your teacher for a breakdown of information to include :)

To get a complete you need to:

Formulates a focused problem/research question and identifies the relevant variables.

Designs a method for the effective control of the variables.

Develops a method that allows for the collection of sufficient relevant data.

I recommend reading pages 26-27 of the syllabus to gain a deeper understanding about the design. Here is a link to the syllabus

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I recently got full marks on a physics design IA. Here's how I write a design.

Topic/heading/research question

-You have to come up with this on your own. If your teacher tells you which variables you should change then you cannot receive full marks. It actually says this in the criteria.

-Your topic should be something like 'How does X affect Y.' Eg. How does the mass affect the acceleration of a falling object


-keep this brief!

-It's not like an English or History style intro!


-The aim

-clarification of anything that may be unclear in your research question/ topic

-Hypothesis (This isn't actually in the criteria but it'll give you something to talk about in your evaluation if your results are different to what you predicted) Eg. 'I believe that as the voltage increases the current will increase exponentially'

-Literary value which is the official value for what you are testing, for example, if you were trying to find acceleration due to gravity the literary value would be 9.8 m/s^2 (again, not mandatory for the design aspect but it'll give you something to talk about for your conclusion and evaluation).


-One of the most important aspects of the designIMO

-Independent variable(s)

-dependent variable


-make sure you state how you will keep the controls constant, how you will measure everything (ruler, voltmeter), the uncertainty of any measurements, units of any measurements, and give numbers such as 'The water temperature will remain constant at 25 degs C' or the concentration will begin at 5mols/dm^3 and increase in increments of 5mol/dm^3 until 40mol/dm^3.'

-Don't be too pedantic with controls. Obviously mention the ones that may actually affect your experiment but don't say things like air pressure in the room if you're measuring people's reaction rate because it is clearly unnecessary.


-list of materials

-be specific, such as 500ml beaker or 8 test tubes

-also include any datalogging software and even spreadsheet programs like Excel


-Keep. It. Simple (but not patronizing)

-continually mention how you are controlling your variables

-mention safety precautions too

-have a look at pracs that are in your textbook and look at how they wrote the method.

-mention how you will do things. Don't just say 'record temperature' instead say 'measure the temperature of the water with the thermometer and record in a table

-Say to repeat the experiment X times for each trial (usually three times). This is explicitly mentioned in the criteria so make sure you do it.

-include a labelled diagram or photo if necessary.

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