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Displaying Data

Scientists conduct experiments to gain information. They are trying to find the answers to their questions. They want to know if their hypotheses are right. The information scientists gather is called data. Data shows the results of an experiment.

Many times, scientists may use numerical data. This means they use numbers to show information. If you are trying to see whether pumpkins fed with milk will grow larger than those fed with water, you will measure the pumpkins. Other types of data that use numbers may include temperature, time, length, mass, or volume. Scientists also use numbers for counts. For example, a scientist might count how many times a prairie dog visits one area per day looking for food.

Sometimes scientists use verbal data, or words to show information. For example, a scientist may use words to describe how a bird responds when removed from its natural habitat.

If you are collecting numerical data, you may use a graph, chart, or table to show your findings. If you collect verbal data, you may record it using an audio recorder. You may also write it in a computer journal or in a notebook.