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Lab Report Limitations of a Caffeine/Sugar Lab

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Hey guys, we would appreciate any feedback about our G4 project. My partner, Ericare slamming our heads against walls to get this done, and now, we are just stuck. He had to go for dinner, so I'm going to finish writing this for him.

To establish things, this is about Capt'n Marth and my G4 project. But I feel that the issue is general enough as a procedure issue to be posted in the general sciences forum.

Our RQ is "What is the effect of caffeine on the cardiovasuclar system and pushup speed compared to sucrose?"

To test it, we had a sample of 7 males, both of us and another group member included, perform pushups a quickly as possible in one minute, and measure the overall distance the chest moved. Of the sample, I was the only one who performed pushups daily, being deemed 'trained' as opposed to 'untrained'.

However, our results are surprising. The only results that went as expected are that both sucrose and caffeine increased heart rate, and caffeine results for speed were mostly slightly faster than sucrose (this was half of our hypothesis; the other half was that caffeine would increase blood pressure and heart rate more than sucrose). The results for blood pressure were erractic, and the assumption that more caffeine would be required for more effective results was off.

We are now contemplating about the possibility of a difference in effectiveness based on trained vs untrained individuals. Subjects fasted for at least 8 hours, had bio stats monitored, then performed pushups. I performed 75 pushups for our control, 75 again after waiting 30 mins after consuming 250 mL of Sprite (for sucrose). After a day in between, I did it again after consuming black coffee containing 186 mg of caffeine. I jumped to 93 pushups.

Eric

However, the next most trained individual (3-4x/weekly of pushups) only went from 41 to 46 after caffeine. The subjects who either trained 0-1x/weekly had minimal increase in pushups, and some even went down. By the looks of this, the data is going to be very hard to assess, because the substance has made almost an even split of increasing OR decreasing certain people's pushup rate, so we cannot come to a conclusion as to what these substances do exactly.

We are considering the limitations of our experiment and what we should do with our data now, and if we should redo the trials because we are running out of time and resources. Eric has studied articles about caffeine consumption and biological sensitivity, and studies suggest that caffeine shows an a more evident effect on trained individuals rather than untrained.

We have considered to redoing the trials, as I thought the main limitation was the lack of recovery time the subjects were getting. This is because even with the substance, the test subject's exhaustion will counter balance and as a result we will not be able to see an evident effect of the substance, whether it is sugar or caffeine.

We are unable to regroup all 7 test subjects for the next week if we are going to redo the trials. Eric is considering rounding up "trained" individuals" for the next set of trials. Is this plausible? Of course, some of the initial test subjects will still be retained to make comparison. Our group is limited in time and test subjects now; if anyone could give us guidance in what is wrong with our lab, or what next steps we should take, it would be greatly appreciated.

We are finding the major discrepancies of our results to be very strange, and we do not know exactly why. If anyone has any experience with caffeine/sugar related experiments that could potentially help us, we would be in your debt if you could help us right now. :(

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1) Group 4 projects require an almost ridiculously basic level of science and you more or less do it for participation, so don't stress out about it too much! You could probably hand in inconclusive stuff and it'd be fine. They're not real labs as such.

2) Caffeine increases alertness and concentration so it's plausible that the increase in the number of push-ups in the trained individual was through greater motivation, alertness and muscle control. Half of physical exercise is in the mind etc.!

3) Other factors like amount of sleep, whether that person had warmed up, whether they'd exercised the day before so if they were tired... and so on... are all very likely to affect performance levels from one day to the next. Plenty of confounding factors to blame it on.

4) Heart rate and speed don't really logically link to each other in the first place

I've not provided hugely scientific solutions because firstly, it's not a very controlled experiment, it has a huge number of unaccountable variables - and secondly, it's for the group 4 project. Honestly, don't fret about it too much!

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1) Group 4 projects require an almost ridiculously basic level of science and you more or less do it for participation, so don't stress out about it too much! You could probably hand in inconclusive stuff and it'd be fine. They're not real labs as such.

2) Caffeine increases alertness and concentration so it's plausible that the increase in the number of push-ups in the trained individual was through greater motivation, alertness and muscle control. Half of physical exercise is in the mind etc.!

3) Other factors like amount of sleep, whether that person had warmed up, whether they'd exercised the day before so if they were tired... and so on... are all very likely to affect performance levels from one day to the next. Plenty of confounding factors to blame it on.

4) Heart rate and speed don't really logically link to each other in the first place

I've not provided hugely scientific solutions because firstly, it's not a very controlled experiment, it has a huge number of unaccountable variables - and secondly, it's for the group 4 project. Honestly, don't fret about it too much!

We're not interlinking them, we're doing cardiovascular system and speed

seperately to be more explicit in handling biology, and very basic physics.

We're just trying to figure things out, so when we present it, it appears credible and not overtly sloppy... :(

Edited by Expired Manwich of Doom

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Well of all people, I'm glad you were the one who responded.

We've decided to eliminate the sugar aspect, and retain the data ONLY from the non-substance trial and the caffeine trial. We are going to introduce a new sample set, and distinctly divide them into trained and untrained subjects. This way, we are able to use the results and assess them according to our research. Does this seem reasonable?

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