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SEP4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Once collected, data must be presented in a form that can reveal any patterns and relationships and that allows results to be communicated to others. Because raw data as such have little meaning, a major practice of scientists is to organize and interpret data through tabulating, graphing, or statistical analysis. Such analysis can bring out the meaning of data - and their relevance - so that they may be used as evidence.

Engineers, too, make decisions based on evidence that a given design will work; they rarely rely on trial and error. Engineers often analyze a design by creating a model or prototype and collecting extensive data on how it performs, including under extreme conditions. Analysis of this kind of data not only informs design decisions and enables the prediction or assessment of performance but also helps define or clarify problems, determine economic feasibility, evaluate alternatives, and investigate failures. (NRC Framework 2012, p. 61-62)

Refer to the Essential Learning Event 2 Evidence-Based Practice for information related to the practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data:

At these links you will find:

  • Sample student actions associated with SEP4
  • Sample teacher actions & instructional strategies for SEP4, questions to promote the use of SEP4 in the classroom
  • Sample assessment task formats to assess learning for SEP4.
Analyzing and interpreting data