Experimental Procedures and Techniques

Experimental Procedures and Techniques

  • Adherence to Protocol: A thorough understanding and adherence to the experiment’s protocol is crucial. Understand what each step contributes to the overall result.
  • Reproducibility and Consistency: The methods chosen should allow for reproducibility and consistency, meaning other researchers could follow the same procedures and arrive at similar results. This is an essential aspect of scientific methodology.
  • Data Collection: Accurate and precise data collection is key. Be familiar with the necessary tools and equipment for proper data collection and recording.
  • Control of Variables: Understand the need to control variables in an experiment and how this impacts the validity of results.
  • Accuracy and Precision: Understand the importance of both accuracy (how close measurements are to the “true” value) and precision (how close repeated measurements are to each other). Develop strategies to improve these in experimental techniques.
  • Error Analysis: Learn how to identify and minimise both random and systematic errors.

Health and Safety and Ethical Considerations

  • Risk Assessment: Always conduct a risk assessment before starting an experiment. This includes identifying potential hazards, evaluating the likelihood and severity of risk, and implementing necessary control measures.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Understand the importance of using appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as lab coats, gloves, and safety goggles.
  • Ethical Considerations: Experiments involving living organisms or sensitive data need to comply with ethical guidelines. Understand the importance of informed consent, confidentiality, and the humane treatment of animals.
  • Disposal of Waste: Understand how to safely and correctly dispose of experimental waste to protect yourself, others, and the environment.
  • Reporting Accidents: Know the correct procedure to report any accidents or near-misses in the lab.


  • Objective and Hypothesis: Clearly define the experiment’s objective and hypothesis. The objective is what the experiment aims to achieve, while the hypothesis is a testable statement that predicts an outcome.
  • Planning: Create a detailed plan for executing the experiment, including the steps to perform, data to collect, and resources required.
  • Time Management: Develop a schedule to manage the time needed for setting up, executing, and analysing the results of the experiment effectively. Factor in time for repeats or unexpected results.
  • Data Analysis: Decide on how the collected data will be analysed and presented. Make sure to understand the statistical methods required for the analysis of data.


  • Time Allocation: Allocate sufficient time for each stage of the project. Prioritise the main tasks and structure the schedule around these.
  • Flexibility: Build some flexibility into the schedule in case of unexpected delays or issues.
  • Review and Update: Regularly review the schedule and adjust it if needed to stay on track.
  • Deadline: Keep an eye on the deadline for the project to ensure timely submission.
  • Breaks: Include time for breaks to avoid burnout and maintain motive.

Remember: Effective planning, consideration for safety and ethical implications, and accurate handling of experimental procedures are central to successful investigative projects.