Select here to view links to the scientists and stories highlighted in this video.
Fair testing finds relationships between variables (factors). A single variable is changed while keeping other variables the same. Any differences are said to be the result of the changed variable.
This method is most easily suited to physical sciences – for example, will the reaction go faster if a more concentrated acid is used? – and technology investigations – for example, which paper towel can soak up the greatest volume of water?. Fair testing is particularly well suited to investigations that record measurements.
This method may not work well where investigations
- need to be done in the field
- are monitoring change over time
- need to examine a whole system, not just isolated parts.
Activities that use fair testing
Examples of kairangahau Māori using fair testing as part of their research
Hemi Cumming is researching sea sponges and rongoā to investigate new cancer treatments.
Fair testing finds relationships between factors or variables. A single variable is changed while keeping other variables the same. Any differences are associated or correlated in some way with the changed variable.
This method is most easily suited to physical sciences and technology, for example, will the bioplastic bag degrade more quickly if we increase the heat and which fabric is the strongest?
Fair testing is particularly well suited to investigations that record measurements and where the variables can be identified and managed.
This method may not work so well where investigations need to be done in the field, monitor change over a long period of time or examine a whole system, not just isolated parts.
As scientists increase sample sizes and repeat and reflect on their tests, their investigation becomes more robust and they can be more confident about their findings.
Testing aerodynamics of elite cyclists from, Dr Lindsey Alton (nee Underwood), Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
Technical challenges in powder metallurgy, Professor Deliang Zhang, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Dr Stella Rayanova, University of Waikato
Scion biodegradation testing facility, courtesy of Scion (the Zespri biospife is an example of a product that has undergone biodegradation testing at the Scion facility)
Tensile strength testing on NEC fabric from Testing Natural Easy Care fabrics, AgResearch
Temperature from Stream health monitoring and assessment interactive, Hannah, Jess and Sam, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
Chemical markers, Associate Professor Candida Savage, University of Otago
Lab biomineralisation 2, Dr Natasha Munro, Victoria University of Wellington
Making molecules, Associate Professor Bridget Stocker, Victoria University of Wellington
Experiment set-up with silent control from How pea crabs find their way home, Jessica Feickert, Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of Auckland
Validating satellite measurements in Antarctica, courtesy of Dr Daniel Price
Kaitiakitanga, Raiha Tuahine, NIWA
Evidence of Zealandia, core lab from expedition #371 by Adam Kurtz. Both courtesy of US Science Support Program and IODP
Ozonesonde launch from Monitoring ozone levels
UV index graph, source data NIWA, NZ Stats, Crown copyright, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Yvonne Taura, Dr Beverly Clarkson, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, and Cultural indicators and Cross-cultural conversations, Cheri van Schravendijk-Goodman, Swampfrog Environmental and Tree Consultants, editors of Te Reo o Te Repo – The Voice of the Wetland, a wetland restoration handbook (the educational resources developed from this book are here)
A short-term bucket trial from Investigations in science, Dr Trish Fraser, Plant & Food Research
Conducting fieldwork, Dr Jenni Stanley, University of Waikato
Researching gut health in the lab from Gut bacteria and health, Dr Juliet Ansell, Head of Global Science Innovation at Zespri International (ex Plant & Food Research)