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Physics I Lab Manual 2011 105 - stick which is often worn...

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Appendix B An Introduction to Error Analysis An important part of presenting experimental data is the treatment of the uncertainty in the data. This document provides a brief introduction to the topic and has a few examples that will be useful references when you are preparing your own lab reports. Uncertainty in measured quantities Whenever you make a measurement there is uncertainty. Any error in the measurement can be minimized by using care and proper experimental techniques, but it cannot be eliminated. For example, if you are determining the mass of an object, you should be careful to “zero” the scale before putting the object on it, and you should ensure the measurement you make is repeatable, this will minimize the uncertainty in your measurement of the mass. When you measure length using a meter stick, you should not measure from the end of the meter
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Unformatted text preview: stick, which is often worn down, but rather from a line that is more clearly defined, such as the 1 cm line (you’d then have to subtract 1 cm from the value you read on the meter stick). Virtually all other types of measurements that you will make will require similar care and thought to minimize the error in the measurements. In practice when we make a measurement what we are actually determining is a range of values that we believe contains the actual value. When the error in a measurement is minimized, what is left is the inherent uncertainty. It is necessary to estimate the size of this uncertainty and record it with the value of your measurement in your data table. If we measure a quantity a with an uncertainty δa we 95...
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