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Educ 297 Seminar on Laboratory Practices and Experimental Design



MAEd – Science Education


1. Discuss/ explain at least three laboratory techniques in handling apparatuses and


a. Using Graduated Cylinder

Always a clean graduated cylinder should be used for measurement because dirt may

chemically contaminate the substance being measured and it may deter accurate

determination of volume. Dirty glassware does not drain properly and the volume delivered may

not be equal to that indicated by calibration mark. Measuring cylinders of 5mL, 10mL, 25mL,

100mL, 250mL, 500mL, 1000mL and 2000mL capacity are available. Measuring cylinders used
for delivering the volume actually contain slightly more than the volume read. This compensates

for the film of liquid left on the walls when liquid is poured out.

b. Using Burette

A burette is simply a long graduated tube of uniform bore with a stopcock or a pinchcock

at one end (Fig. 2.16). It is used for measuring volume in a quantitative (titrimetric) estimation.

The burette reading is noted before and after delivering the liquid. The difference between these

two readings is the volume of the liquid delivered. The liquid should be delivered dropwise. If the

liquid is allowed to run too fast, the walls of the burette will not drain properly and some liquid

may remain sticking to the surface of the walls. This may lead to faulty reading. Measuring

capacity of the burette usually used in the laboratory is 50 mL. Before filling the solution to be

used, the burette should be rinsed with the solution to be filled. For rinsing the burette, few

millilitres of solution are taken into it and the whole inner surface of burette is wetted with the

solution by rotating it. After rinsing, the solution is drained out of the nozzle of the burette.

c. Using Pipette

Normally pipettes of measuring capacity 1 mL, 2 mL, 5 mL, 10 mL, 20 mL, 25 mL etc.

are used. Graduated pipettes are also used in the laboratory work (Fig. 1.3). Pipette is used for

measuring volumes of liquids, when these are to be transferred to a flask or some other

apparatus. Liquids are sucked into the pipette by applying suction through mouth or by using a

pipette filler bulb or a pipette filler pump. It is always safe to use pipette filler bulb or pipette filler

pump to fill the pipette. When poisonous and corrosive solutions are to be drawn into the

pipette, never suck by mouth. Use a pipette filler bulb to draw the liquid up into the

pipette. Hold the pipette in one hand tightly, dip the jet of the pipette into the solution to be

pipetted out, and squeeze the pipette bulb with the other hand. Now loosen your grip on the

bulb so that the liquid is sucked into the pipette. When the liquid is above the etched mark on

the pipette, remove the bulb, and put the index finger of the hand at its place holding the pipette
as shown in Fig. 2.20 c. Loosen the finger carefully to allow the excess liquid to flow out so that

the curvature of the meniscus reaches the mark. Now

carefully remove the finger and let the liquid run into the flask (Fig. 2.20 d). After emptying the

pipette do not blow out the remaining liquid. Pipettes are so designed that the little amount of

liquid, which remains untransferred, is not taken into calibration.

2. What are the types of experimental design? Explain each.

Experiments is a research method in which conditions are controlled so that one or more

independent variable can be manipulated to test a hypothesis about a dependent variable. It

allows evaluation of causal relationships among variables while all other variables are

eliminated or controlled. Experimental designs are essential to all experiments. Careful planning

and best time to do the work necessary to ensure that you will have data of the type and quality

needed to achieve your study objectives.

The following are the types of experimental designs:

1. Pre – Experimental Designs

Do not adequately control for the problems associated with loss of external or internal

validity. Cannot be classified as true experiments. Often used in exploratory research.

Three examples of pre – experimental design:

1.1 One – Shot Design (A.K. A after – only design) – a single measure is recorded after

the treatment is administered. Study lacks any comparison or control of extraneous

influences. No measure of test units not exposed to the experimental treatment.

Maybe the only viable choice in taste test.

1.2 One – Group Pretest – Postest Design – subjects in the experimental group are

measured before and after the treatment is administered. It has no control group and

offers comparison of the same individuals before and after the treatment. If time
between 1st and 2nd measurements is extended, may suffer maturation. It can also

suffer from history, mortality, and testing effects.

1.3 Static Group Design ( A.K.A after – only design with control group) – experimental

group is measured after being exposed to the experimental treatment. Control group

is measured without having been exposed to the experimental treatment. No pre –

measure is taken and major weakness is lack of assurance that the groups were

equal on variables of interest prior to the treatment.

2. True Experimental Design

The simplest experimental design tests just one treatment that is compared with

a no – treatment condition. Subjects are randomly assigned to either the treatment or control

group and are measured or tested both before and after the experimental treatment is


The following are the types of true experimental design:

2.1 Pretest – Posttest Control Group Design ( A.K.A before – after with control) –

experimental group tested before and after treatment exposure. Control group tested

at same two times without exposure to experimental treatment. It includes random

assignment to groups. The effect of all extraneous variables assumed to be the

same on both groups. It do not run the risk of testing effect.

2.2 Posttest – Only Control Group Design (A.K.A after – only with control) – experimental

group tested after treatment exposure. Control group tested at same time without

exposure to experimental treatment. It includes random assignment to groups. The

effect of all extraneous variables assumed to be the same on both groups. It do not

run the risk of testing effect. Use in situations when cannot pretest.

2.3 Solomon Four Group Design – combines pretest and posttest with control group

design and the posttest with control group design. Provides means for controlling the
interactive testing effect and other sources of extraneous variation. Dies include

random assignment.

2.4 Completely Randomized Design – involves randomly assigning treatments to group

members. It allows over all extraneous treatments while manipulating the treatment

variable. Simple to administer, but should not be used unless test members are

similar, and they are also alike regarding a particular extraneous varialble. Different

forms of independent variable are called “levels”.

2.5 Factorial Design – used to examine the effects that the manipulation of at least 2

independent variables 9 simultaneously at different levels) has upon the independent

variable. The impact that each independent variable has on the dependent variable

is referred to as “main effect”. Dependent variable may also be impacted by the

interaction of the independent variables and this is called “interaction effect”.

3. Quasi – Experimental Design

Groups or subjects not randomly assigned. May not have a comparison group.

Typical of clinical research and less “subject – intensive”.

The following are the four considered progressively weaker designs:

3.1 Control Group design with Pretest and Posttest includes an Intervention

3.2 Pretesting and Posttesting

3.3 No – treatment control group

4. Differentiate validity from reliability

Validity implies the extent to which the research instrument measures, what it is

intended to measure. It is related to accuracy and the assessment is difficult. While, reliability

refers to the degree to which scale produces consistent results, when repeated measurements

are made. It is related to precision and its assessment is easy.

To sum up, validity and reliability is two vital test of sound measurement.

Reliability of the instrument can be evaluated by identifying the proportion of systematic

variation in the instrument. On the other hand, the validity of the instrument is assessed by

determining the degree to which variation in observed scale score indicates actual variation

among those being tested.

5. Explain the things to be considered in choosing an experimental design.

 Experiments provides new, innovative solutions to problems, as well as interesting

findings about observations and questions. Accurate findings must begin with a design

that determines the overall approach and techniques that will be used. In order to come

up with a good experiment and to choose the best experimental design the following

should be considered:

1. The Study Base – also known as the source population or study cohort, is the group

or population that are studying. Consider who or what is the focus of your study.

2. The Study Timeline – take into account what period of time you should collect data

from your study.

3. Quantitative or Qualitative – check whether the design should be quantitative or


4. Reliability and Repetition – experiments is reliable and valid if it can be repeated with

similar results. This means that the outcome of the research was not a random

occurrence, but real scientific information.

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