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91601Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with guidance
Introduction to the standard

For achieved you will need to do the following.

·         developing a statement of the purpose, linked to a scientific concept or idea, and written as a hypothesis

·         using a method that describes:

-       for a fair test: the independent variable and its range, the measurement of the dependent variable and the control of some other key variables

-       for a pattern seeking or modelling activity: the data that will be collected, range of data/samples, and consideration of some other key factors

·         collecting, recording, and processing data relevant to the purpose of the investigation

·         interpreting the processed data and reporting on the findings of the investigation

·         identifying relevant findings from another source

·         stating a conclusion based on interpretation of the processed data which is relevant to the purpose of the investigation.


  • Form merit and excellence you will need to.

·         using a valid method that describes:

-       for a fair test: a valid range for the independent variable, the valid measurement of the dependent variable and the control of other key variables, with consideration of factors such as sampling bias and sources of errors

-       for a pattern seeking or modelling activity: a valid collection of data with consideration of factors such as sampling bias and sources of errors

·         collecting, recording, and processing reliable data to enable a trend or pattern (or absence) to be determined

·         stating a valid conclusion based on the processed data in relation to the purpose

·         explaining the biological ideas relating to the investigation.  The explanation is based on both the findings from the investigation and those from other source(s).

Glossary for Writing a Formal Scientific Report for an Investigation





An accurate, concise description of the investigation. 

Ecological Niche

An outline of the background information and observations, which led to the formation of your hypothesis.  This section should describe the ecological niche and explain the biological processes relating to the hypothesis and describe the results that would be expected in the investigation as a result of your knowledge of biological concepts.  


A formal statement of the purpose of the investigation.


A formal, testable statement of the expected outcome of the investigation.  A null hypothesis stating the expected outcome if the variable has no effect on the organism could be included.

Hypotheses are written in the following format:

“That……………” e.g. That salinity of water will increase the rate of ……………..”


An accurate description of the materials and experimental procedure used in the investigation, written in third person.  The method should be written in such a way that an independent person could repeat the experiment without consultation to the author. 


A full description of the results.  Results should be presented as a series of tables and graphs accompanied by explanations.  Your results section should be a summary of your findings.  This will often require you to combine several raw data tables into one.  Result tables and graphs should allow the reader to look at one graph or table and make comparisons.

Conclusion and Discussion

This is a statement of conclusion relating the findings of the investigation back to the aim and hypothesis, followed by an in-depth discussion of the biological significance of the results and how they relate to the ecological niche of the organism.  If your results do not support known biological facts or theories, you should discuss this discrepancy.


An outline of the assumptions that were made in the investigation; problems encountered, how they were overcome and a critical evaluation of the effect of these in the investigation.  This includes a discussion of:

·        How limitations of the investigation were overcome.

·        How sources of error were eliminated.

·        How the effects of bias were reduced.

·        The validity of the conclusion by using statistical methods (not essential).


All sources cited (referred to) in the text of your report should be listed in full using the format outlined in the student assessment worksheet.  Please make sure that you follow these instructions.


Appendices can be used to show information that is relevant to the investigation but not required within the body of the report.  This may include items such as your logbook, raw data tables any additional information relating to the method.