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Horticulture 1000
HT1011 - Practical investigations - Processing data and reporting
Collecting and recording data Example of an investigation

Processing data and reporting

To make the data understandable it will need to be processed.

Processing can involve:

  • working out percentages
  • calculating averages
  • drawing a graph.


You can convert totals to a percentage to enable valid comparisons between sets of data. To calculate the germination percentage of radishes in a seed germination test, the following equation could be used.

Germination percentage = Number germinated/number planted x 100/1

The percentage germination of lettuce seeds germinating at 10°C will be:

Germination percentage = 21/40 x 100/1 = 52.5%
Round to the nearest whole number = 53%

Finding the average

If a series of data is collected then the data may need to be averaged before any further analysis of the results take place.

Here is an example: the average number of seeds that germinated daily at 10°C.

Add up the number of seeds germinated daily: 0 + 0 + 0 + 2 + 5 + 6 + 8 = 21

Divide by the number days: 7

21/7 = 3 seeds germinated daily on average


Every graph should include the following:

  • a descriptive title
  • it should be large enough to show all the details clearly
  • the independent variable on the X-axis (the measurement that changes evenly) well labelled
  • the dependant variable on the Y axis
  • a cross to show each point on the graph
  • a smooth line or curve drawn to fit the points
  • axes clearly labelled with units shown in brackets
  • an appropriate scale – units on each axes should go up in even steps and be evenly spaced
  • a key, if necessary.

Line graphs

A line graph is used when the data from both variables is continuous. The slope of a line graph can give you information. A steep line shows a faster change.

Example of a line graph

A bar graph

A bar graph is used when one set of data is not continuous. It is used to show the difference between two groups of things. When you draw a bar graph, always leave gaps between the bars.

Example of a bar graph


A report needs to include the following:

  • the trend or pattern that your results showed
  • an explanation of what the results show and why you got these results
  • a conclusion linked to the aim and the hypothesis
  • an evaluation of the investigation to develop the science ideas related to the investigation and what could be investigated further.

What's next?

Go to: 4 Example of an investigation.

Collecting and recording data Example of an investigation