If you work in a laboratory as I do, you’re probably familiar with the constant search for the most accurate results possible. You’ll do the same experiment multiple times, controlling the same variables, but your results are always a little different from each other. There’s a natural variance to account for, but it’s frustrating when there’s additional variance on top of that. Read on to learn some tips for improving the accuracy of your research results.
Keep the Lab and Equipment Clean
When working in a lab, it’s hard for us to keep track of everything and ensure the place is pristine at every moment. There are typically many people moving in and out, working on their experiments. It’s hard enough to track what you are doing by yourself. However, with that said, it’s important that you maintain the lab’s quality and keep all equipment clean. Microscopic contaminants and disorganization can lead to a 1-milliliter or one-second difference, and while it may not seem like a lot at the moment, they add up. Before starting any experiments or collecting data, check everything to ensure nothing gets in the middle of you and your results.
Ensure You Have Good Equipment
You may not be able to control this depending on your role in the laboratory. Still, it is a significant reason why some results are inconsistent and potentially inaccurate. I’ve worked in labs with old equipment that’s falling apart and in newer labs with state-of-the-art equipment. They are not the same. Older equipment is more prone to failure. They may interfere with your results.
That’s why you must get proper equipment that works for you, and you must learn how to put everything together properly. For example, you have a lot to consider when choosing laser diode mounts because you must also think about function as well as their age. Some devices are not calibrated to work in particular settings, so you must get the correct equipment that’s also newer and less prone to failure.
Rehearse the Experiment
Another way you can improve the accuracy of your research results is by rehearsing the experiment and knowing exactly what you’ll do beforehand. I’m guilty of heading straight for the experiment and reading the instructions as I do it, but this strategy leads to wasted time that can interfere with the results. Instead of doing what I did before, we all should rehearse, know exactly what step comes next, and have the equipment prepped and ready beforehand. Doing this will simplify the experiment, eliminate a lot of waiting time, and improve the accuracy of the results.
These tips for improving the accuracy of your research results can significantly help you get better results faster and more consistently. Laboratory workers like us constantly struggle to find results and justify or explain them to other parties. With these tips, it will be much easier to figure out. Instead of explaining why some results aren’t the same, you can point out how accurate and consistent everything is, showing them that you are competent.