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Cause and Effect Experiments

Example: In our daily lives, we often conduct little experiments to detect cause-and-effect connections. If you are interested in gardening, for example, you might try adding plant food to one bed of flowers but not another and then ask the question: Does the use of plant food (the independent variable) affect the size of the flowers (the dependent variable)? By comparing unfed plants (the control group) to those receiving plant food (the experimental group), you could then find out if plant food is worth using.
Think of at least two different informal experiments you've conducted in the last few months, or consider a couple of experiments you would like to conduct. Answer the following questions:
(1) What is the hypothesis?
(2) What were the independent and dependent variables?
(3) Were any important extraneous variables controlledâ?"if so, how? If not, how would you control for the extraneous variables?
(4) What was the outcome of the experiment?
(5) Are the conclusions warrantedâ?"why, or why not?

Solution Preview

I have conducted an experiment on the effects of whey protein on resistance workout recovery.

Hypothesis: the consumption of the recommended amount of whey protein will lead to faster recovery from resistance workouts.

Independent variable: recommended amount of whey protein/one scoop with cup provided post workout.

Dependent variable: increased recovery time from work out

An important extraneous variable that could affect the results of this experiment is the differing amounts of protein contained within different brands of whey protein. This extraneous variable would be controlled by ensuring that the participants in this experiment use the same brand whey protein containing 20 g of protein per serving.

Outcome: The outcome of this experiment was that those individuals ...