Science Investigation Terminology

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Testable question

A question that can be answered by designing and conducting an experiment. It is always about changing one thing to see what the effect is on another thing


A proposed explanation for a phenomenon being explored.


A prediction is a guess about what might happen in the future, based on observations that you make.

Quantitative data

numerical information that can be measured or counted.

Qualitative data

Descriptive information about characteristics that are difficult to define or measure or cannot be expressed numerically

Manipulated variable

The independent variable in an experiment. It's called “manipulated” because it's the one you can change.

Responding variable

Responding variable

The variable that “responds” to changes (manipulated variable) you make in an experiment.


A diagram is a symbolic or picture representation of what an investigation set up looks like.

Investigation procedure

The steps one follows to implement an investigation. The procedure allows for investigators to repeat steps exactly.

Data table

Any display of information in tabular form, with rows and/or columns. It is how quantitative data is collected for an investigation.


a diagram showing the relation between variable quantities, typically of two variables, each measured along one of a pair of axes at right angles.

(in Claim, Evidence, Reasoning format)

An explanation at the end of an investigation that states the question, if it was answered or not, and the evidence used to prove or disprove the question. In CER Writing A CER (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) is a format for writing about science. It allows you to think about your data in relation to the claim (prediction to the question).