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published by the Visionlearning
supported by the National Science Foundation
written by Anthony Carpi and Anne Egger
This is an instructional module on the process of experimentation as a scientific research method. The authors use a contextual approach, which includes a brief history of experimental research and a case study of Louis Pasteur's experiment on spontaneous generation of microorganisms. A question set is also included, along with background information for teachers.

Editor's Note: Experimentation is a research method in which one or more variables are consciously manipulated and the outcome or effect of that manipulation on other variables is observed. This resource is designed to guide beginning students in designing experiments that meet the standards of a "fair test". It is appropriate for use in both secondary and lower-level undergraduate courses.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Research Design & Methodology
= Validity
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Problem/Problem Set
= Tutorial
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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© 2000 visionlearning.com, 2000, http://www.visionlearning.com/docs/terms.php#copyright
classroom-tested, controlled experiment, experiment, experimental design, experimental research, research methodology, science modules, scientific method, scientific process, validity
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 19, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 4, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 26, 2010

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1A. The Scientific Worldview
  • 6-8: 1A/M2. Scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way.
  • 6-8: 1A/M3. Some scientific knowledge is very old and yet is still applicable today.
1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 3-5: 1B/E1. Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments.
  • 9-12: 1B/H1. Investigations are conducted for different reasons, including to explore new phenomena, to check on previous results, to test how well a theory predicts, and to compare theories.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


A. The Scientific World View
  • 1A (6-8) #1.  When similar investigations give different results, the scientific challenge is to judge whether the differences are trivial or significant, and it often takes further studies to decide. Even with similar results, scientists may wait until an investigation has been repeated many times before accepting the results as correct.
B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 1B (6-8) #1.  Scientists differ greatly in what phenomena they study and how they go about their work. Although there is no fixed set of steps that all scientists follow, scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected evidence.
  • 1B (6-8) #2.  If more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment, the outcome of the experiment may not be clearly attributable to any one of the variables. It may not always be possible to prevent outside variables from influencing the outcome of an investigation (or even to identify all of the variables), but collaboration among investigators can often lead to research designs that are able to deal with such situations.
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Record Link
AIP Format
A. Carpi and A. Egger, (Visionlearning, 2000), WWW Document, (http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Experimentation-in-Scientific-Research/150).
A. Carpi and A. Egger, Visionlearning: Research Methods: Experimentation, (Visionlearning, 2000), <http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Experimentation-in-Scientific-Research/150>.
APA Format
Carpi, A., & Egger, A. (2010, September 26). Visionlearning: Research Methods: Experimentation. Retrieved January 20, 2017, from Visionlearning: http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Experimentation-in-Scientific-Research/150
Chicago Format
Carpi, Anthony, and Anne Egger. Visionlearning: Research Methods: Experimentation. Visionlearning, September 26, 2010. http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Experimentation-in-Scientific-Research/150 (accessed 20 January 2017).
MLA Format
Carpi, Anthony, and Anne Egger. Visionlearning: Research Methods: Experimentation. Visionlearning, 2000. 26 Sep. 2010. National Science Foundation. 20 Jan. 2017 <http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Experimentation-in-Scientific-Research/150>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Anthony Carpi and Anne Egger", Title = {Visionlearning: Research Methods: Experimentation}, Publisher = {Visionlearning}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {20 January 2017}, Month = {September 26, 2010}, Year = {2000} }
Refer Export Format

%A Anthony Carpi
%A Anne Egger
%T Visionlearning: Research Methods: Experimentation
%D September 26, 2010
%I Visionlearning
%U http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Experimentation-in-Scientific-Research/150
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Carpi, Anthony
%A Egger, Anne
%D September 26, 2010
%T Visionlearning: Research Methods: Experimentation
%I Visionlearning
%V 2017
%N 20 January 2017
%8 September 26, 2010
%9 text/html
%U http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Process-of-Science/49/Experimentation-in-Scientific-Research/150

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