Science Glossary

Word Definition
Accuracy A measurement is accurate if it close to the actual or true value.
Data This is information, it might be the results you collect in your experiment, or information you get from other sources.
Errors For lots of reasons your data might not always be close to the true value, these differences are called errors. Errors are not necessarily “mistakes”
AnomalousResults  Anomalous results are results which don’t seem to fit in with the rest of your data.
Random error For all sorts of reasons you may get a different value every time you collect a piece of data, If you take 3 repeat readings they might all be slightly different. These differences are cause by random errors and cannot be corrected. We reduce the effects by repeating measurements and calculating mean values.
Systematic error These occur when a measurement differs from the true value by the same amount every time a measurement is made. Repeating readings and calculating mean values does not remove this type of error. They are cause by the equipment used, the environment or the person making the measurement.
Zero error If a meter or measuring device does not read zero when it is clearly not measuring anything then it has a zero error.
Independent variable This is the variable which you change in an investigation
Dependent variable This is the variable which you measure to get your results.
Control variable 


These are the variables which you keep constant to ensure a fair test.
Fair test You have a fair test when only the independent variable affects the dependent variable.
Hypothesis This is a scientific idea which you use to explain a prediction or observation.
Catagoric variable A variable which is described in words or labels, e.g. eye colour or type of tree.
Continuous variable A variable which can have any numerical value.
Repeatable Data is repeatable if you get the same values each time you repeat the experiment.
Reproducible If other scientists can repeat your investigation and get similar results then it is reproducible.
Precise If the readings are similar each time you make a measurement and all of the values are close to the mean then the data is precise.
Range in data From the smallest value to the largest value.
Interval The gap between readings. If you use the distances 10, 20,30 and 40 cm the interval is 10cm

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