SAMPLE OF RESEARCH REPORT - PARTS I & II
(name)___________________________ Per. ____ (date)__________
THE EFFECT OF THE FERTILIZER VF-11 ON OAT SEED GERMINATION
A. PROBLEM: How does a fertilizer affect the germination of oat seeds?
B. BACKGROUND: With the time rapidly approaching when we will need to grow food plants in an orbiting space
station, in a lunar base, and in a station on Mars, it would be important to know just how much fertilizer is absolutely necessary
for maximum growth in those environments. Payload size for launching support materials is very precious, so we don't want to
send up any more than necessary. Baseline data can be gathered from ground-based studies on various food plants and various
Since a seed is essentially a plant in a very early stage, it is reasonable to expect that anything that helps a plant to
grow should also help a seed to germinate and grow.
C. HYPOTHESIS: The fertilizer, VF-11, will stimulate the germination and early growth of oat seeds.
1. Two clear plastic vials (8.1X3.2 cm diam.) are set up, each with a strip of masking tape around it, 1 cm from
top of vial (with marks numbered 1-6, 15mm apart to mark the position of each seed, and to identify the
vial), and with a rolled-up half-piece of brown paper towel slipped inside (to hold the seeds in position
against the vial).
2. The paper in each vial is moistened with a small amount of water to help hold seeds in position.
3. 12 oat seeds (Avena sativa) of approximately equal length and thickness are selected. 6 will go into each vial,
4. Using forceps, each seed is grasped gently in such a way that its sharpest point is pointing away from the
hand, and just a few mm from the end of the forceps.
5. Working the forceps points into the space between paper towel and plastic vial, each seed is inserted to a
position where its pointed (lower) end is just even with the upper edge of the tape (1 cm from lip of vial),
and just above one of the numbered marks.
6. One vial (the "experimental") is half-filled with a tapwater solution of VF-11, diluted according to directions
on bottle. The other vial (the "control") is just half-filled with tap water.
7. Both vials are kept in a wood block on the window sill in room 18, at right angles to the window.
8. Each day, the vials are checked for water level (maintained at 1/2 full) and seed germination.
9. When green shoots begin to appear from several seeds, each will be measured (from edge of vial to upper tip
of shoot) to the nearest mm, and the measurements are recorded in two data tables (one for the control vial,
one for the experimental vial), designed for easy data entry and calculations.
10. Both members of each research team are responsible for BOTH VIALS: measuring, recording, and watering
as needed, at each lab session.
11 Measurements are made daily for about 1 week after first measurements are started.
12. At the end of the study, a graph of the summarized data is prepared, and a statistical analysis made (using the
t-Test) to compare shoot lengths on the last day of measurement. These are used to help interpret the data
and reach a conclusion.
B. PREDICTIONS: If the hypothesis is correct, then the shoots grown in VF-11 should be significantly taller on
average than those grown in plain tapwater for the same period of time. Also, the slope of the growth-rate curve
should be steeper for the fertilized seedlings. Both of these observations would indicate a faster rate of growth in the
If the hypothesis is wrong, then the length of fertilized shoots should be equal to or shorter than the tapwater
shoots, and the graph slope of the fertilized shoots should be the same or lower than that for the tapwater shoots, both
indicating that the fertilizer had either no effect, or an inhibiting effect, respectively.
III. RESULTS [See attached data tables, graph, and t-Test results.]
IV. DISCUSSION [See attached "Discussion" page for this part.]