Scientists collect and record data during their work. They represent this data in many formats, such as tables, narrative notes, graphs, or diagrams. Data can be recorded in different ways depending on the type of investigation and what the scientist is trying to learn. The way in which data is organized is important when interpreting and drawing conclusions from the data.
A data table is one type of graphic organizer used frequently in science. It is used especially during laboratory experiments when qualitative and/or quantitative data are collected. Data tables are not randomly constructed; they have at least two columns or rows and specific data entered into each column and/or row. In order to design a data table, you must know what the independent and dependent variables are.
Let’s look at the procedure of an experiment. Identify the independent and dependent variable. If you need help with identifying the independent and dependent variable, review the lesson titled Experimental Design, in this module.