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Scientists think critically about the results of their investigations

Key Ideas

  • When reviewing the results of an investigation, scientists compare their observations with their predictions. They also consider other scientists’ explanations for what they have observed. This critical review helps them to decide what answers they may have found and what further questions need to be asked.


The result of a science investigation is not often a self-evident endpoint or single ‘answer’. If what is observed differs to what was predicted, scientists may need to revise their proposed explanation, approach or investigation method. Even if what is observed is what was predicted, it may only be one step in an ongoing investigation sequence.

Teacher reflection

  • Why do scientists compare their observations with their predictions?
  • If scientists failed to compare their observations with their predictions, what might happen?
  • When a scientist’s observations don’t support their predictions, what should the scientist’s next step be?
  • Why are the views of other scientists significant?