How do you handle unexpected results or outcomes in your experiments?

Sample interview questions: How do you handle unexpected results or outcomes in your experiments?

Sample answer:

  1. Remain Calm and Keep a Clear Mind: Don’t let emotions or frustrations cloud your judgment. Stay composed, focus on the data, and avoid making hasty decisions.

  2. Verify Your Experimental Setup: Review your apparatus, equipment, and procedures to ensure everything is functioning correctly and that there are no errors or mistakes.

  3. Repeat the Experiment: Conduct the experiment again with identical conditions to confirm if the unexpected result is reproducible. If the result persists, then it indicates a genuine phenomenon.

  4. Check for External Factors: Investigate if external factors, such as changes in environmental conditions, interference from other equipment, or unexpected interactions, might have influenced the outcome.

  5. Analyze and Interpret the Data: Scrutinize the data meticulously. Search for patterns, trends, or outliers that might provide insights into the cause of the unexpected result.

  6. Consult Colleagues: Discuss the findings with fellow scientists, peers, or advisors. Share ideas, insights, and potential explanations to gain new perspectives.

  7. Review Relevant Literature: Conduct a comprehensive literature review to identify previously reported similar observations or experiments with analogous outcomes. This can help you understand if the result aligns with existing knowledge or if it represents a novel finding.

  8. Consider Alternative Hypotheses: Challenge the initial hypothesis and consider alternative explanations that might ac… Read full answer


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