Processing Investigations – analysing and concluding Level 2


Making generalisations

A key concept to teach students in data processing and concluding is that care is necessary when going beyond the specific results and conclusion of an investigation to discuss the more general implications. For example, it would be easy to make the generalisation that sea levels will rise as a result of the land ice melting and entering the ocean because of global warming as a result of a simple investigation measuring water levels as a large ‘land based’ ice block melts in a tub of water. Actual data suggests that a major cause of sea level rising as a result of global warming is thermal expansion of water. This is due to the behaviour of water as it warms above four degrees Celsius. The point is that in the real world many factors come into play that are not present in simple controlled experiments, and to make sweeping generalisations from such data is not a good idea.