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Unreliable data

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What am I supposed to write in a lab report when there are huge differences between the measurements in our experiment, virtually making our data meaningless?
I mean, we did an experiment where we would see how heating a spring affects its spring constant by measuring the deformation of the spring with a load at room temperature and when the spring is heated. So my hypothesis was that the spring constant would decrease (e.g., it would be easier to pull the spring) with a hot spring.
But the problem was that we decided to repeat the experiment, and the results were absurdly different. First we measured a deformation of 10cm, but when we repeated, with the same load, same type of spring and same temperature, the deformation was 23cm!
My problem is that I don't know what to do now. Ok, I may try to explain what caused this systematic error, but I don't have enough reliable data to confirm or disprove my initial hypothesis! Can I write a lab report were I conclude that I'm unable to verify my hypothesis?

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Yes you can! In fact those kind of lab reports are better where you can show your analysis skills. Explain why you didn't reach the stage where you couldn't confirm the hypothesis. And give reasons for your failure to do so, what could've caused the failure and what you can do in the future to prevent it.

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[quote name='Referos' post='26955' date='Oct 18 2008, 10:44 PM']What am I supposed to write in a lab report when there are huge differences between the measurements in our experiment, virtually making our data meaningless?
I mean, we did an experiment where we would see how heating a spring affects its spring constant by measuring the deformation of the spring with a load at room temperature and when the spring is heated. So my hypothesis was that the spring constant would decrease (e.g., it would be easier to pull the spring) with a hot spring.
But the problem was that we decided to repeat the experiment, and the results were absurdly different. First we measured a deformation of 10cm, but when we repeated, with the same load, same type of spring and same temperature, the deformation was 23cm!
My problem is that I don't know what to do now. Ok, I may try to explain what caused this systematic error, but I don't have enough reliable data to confirm or disprove my initial hypothesis! Can I write a lab report were I conclude that I'm unable to verify my hypothesis?[/quote]
Your hypothesis doesn't nedd to be correct. Thats why its called "hypothesis" and not the "answer" . Your hypothesis is supposed to reflect what you expect is going to happen and what you based your asumptions on. WHat comes to having wierd data, well , I did my ee on bio and my datawas all wierd, but the important thing is analysing.

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