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Comparative Physiology @ Guelph

Research Planning Checklist

Use this checklist to plan out your research. It will insure that you have thought things through before you set up your experiments, and it will save you lots of time in the end.


Observation: What are the findings that inspired this research? These might be your own observations or ones that you read in a scientific paper.

Question: What is the question that you are trying to answer? (the best ones start with How? or Why?).

Hypothesis: What explanations or models provide a plausible answer to your question?

Prediction(s) of this hypothesis: Every good hypothesis makes explicit, detailed, and testable predictions. If your hypothesis is true, what must also be true? What kinds of things must not be true? Another way of looking at it is “what kind of result would endanger your hypothesis?”

Experiment: How exactly will you test the predictions of the hypothesis? What will you measure and how?

Independent Variable(s): Which variables will you manipulate to test their effects on the dependent variable?

Dependent Variable(s): What is the thing that you are measuring?

Controlled Variable(s): What other variables might also have an effect on your dependent variable and therefore should be kept constant across all treatment groups?

Statistics: What statistical tests will you use to evaluate the data?

Conclusions: How will you interpret the various possible outcomes from your experiment in terms of the viability of your hypothesis? Which results will support your hypothesis and which will cast doubt on it?