Make Predictions

The scientist applies his/her present knowledge to predict the effect of the independent variable or the dependent variable.

The prediction is a statement of the expected results of the experiment based on the hypothesis. The prediction is often an "if/then statement."

For example: If increasing fertilizer increases number of beans, then coffee bean plants treated with more fertilizer will have more beans.

Predictions provide a reference point for the scientist. If predictions are confirmed, the scientist has supported the hypothesis. If the predictions are not supported, the hypothesis is falsified. Either way, the scientist has increased knowledge of the process being studied.

For example, according to the above prediction, you would expect this graph:

However, the actual data may produce this graph:

The scientist has learned that the prediction (greater applications of fertilizer caused increased number of beans) is true only up to a point. The scientist may now wish to identify this point specifically, i.e., find the optimum amount of fertilizer to apply. The scientist may also want to extend the research to a new direction and find out why higher fertilizer applications actually cease having an effect on the number of beans produced.

Main Page | Introduction and Objectives | Scientific Investigation | Experimental Procedures | Writing Procedures | Mendelian InheritanceMonohybrid and Dihybrid Exercises | Reference | Miscellaneous | Overview | The Question | The Hypothesis | The Experiment | The Scientific Paper | Variables | Procedures | Predictions | Protocol | Data Evaluations | Conclusions |