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Unit 4 - Evaluating

Throughout your experiment or investigation you should constantly be evaluating. Evaluating involves assessing how the experiment is going as you carry it out, how you feel it went and what could have been improved if it was to be carried out again. Evaluating is an important part of the scientific method and your written evaluation comes at the end of the experimental write-up, usually as a part of the conclusion. In this GCSE Biology quiz we look at the purpose of evaluations.

Whilst carrying out your investigation, you may find that some of the ideas you had are not working well. You may wish to make changes in order to improve your method. If you do, then you should mention it in your evaluation. It is a sign of a good scientist and you will receive credit for explaining why you changed your plan. Even if you didn't change plan, saying in the evaluation any changes that you could have made to improve the method you used will gain you some credit.

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Part of evaluation is spotting any results that are anomalous. These are results that don't fit the pattern. If you have the opportunity, you can repeat these parts of your experiment, otherwise you can discard them. Even if you do neither of those things, at least mention them and say why you think they are anomalous (e.g. they are too high or low to fit the pattern). Candidates taking the higher tier should then be able to decide how reliable the results are and if they are sufficiently good quality to support the conclusion.

Finally, to gain credit at the very highest level, you should decide on what you could do to extend your experiment to get additional evidence relevant to the investigation and write in your conclusion a plan of action for an experiment to carry out the extra research.

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  1. Scientists evaluate in order to...
    Some people see evaluation as a negative skill. It is not. It is a very important skill to have and getting into the habit of evaluating your biology experiments will help you to develop this skill for use when you are an adult
  2. Evaluations are an essential part of the scientific method.
    The world's best scientists always evaluate their experiments to try to make sure that other scientists can't find things wrong and criticise their conclusions
  3. If the assessment is entirely favourable...
    An evaluation will tell you if this is the case
  4. Evaluation is an assessment of...
    To gain top marks, you should be evaluating the experiment as you go along, even if you don't write anything down until the end
  5. Evaluations can lead to...
    Successful evaluations can work out what went wrong and lead to improvements
  6. Which is the best order of events?
    The other answers are less logiccal ways of writing a report and this is the format that will be expected if you study biology at higher levels or publish research reports
  7. Evaluations involve assessing the...
    The strengths of an experiment can be used to show that your results are valid and reliable
  8. A successful evaluation can identify these.
    No set of results are perfect
  9. A written evaluation will be found...
    Evaluations are found at the end of the write-up. They can be part of the conclusion or a separate section, whatever suits you best
  10. Evaluations tell us what can be...
    It is about spotting possible weaknesses in an experiment that could lead to unreliable results and strengths that give you confidence in your results

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