Introduction: (Initial Observation)
You notice something, and wonder why it happens. You see something and wonder what causes it. You want to know how or why something works. You ask questions about what you have observed. You want to investigate. The first step is to clearly write down exactly what you have observed.
In order to get nutrients and energy, all humans must eat and consume food items. As a result, every family must set a budget aside for food. In just one month, the average American family of four will spend almost $500 on groceries alone. Many of these families live on tight budgets and every penny counts, therefore buying products that cost even a few cents less can make a difference in the long run.
Comparing the prices and finding the best store for shopping food can help people to get the most food for their money.
Price comparison is not just a saving method for families. Large companies and organizations also need to perform such comparisons on a daily basis. Companies also need to reduce cost in order to increase profit.
Find out about price comparison and cost comparison. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the factors that affect the final cost of a product. Keep track of where you got your information from.
Following are samples of information that you may find:
Cost Price Analysis
The pressure for performance on people who have the responsibility for the purchase of goods and services is greater today than at any other time. As companies struggle with the rapid shift in technology and markets, purchasing professionals are finding themselves needing new and better skills, a better understanding of the cost structure of new and existing products and services and the ability to deal with new and different suppliers and technology. In the midst of this they find a management who are asking them to reduce costs as never before and who view them as a cost center. The burden on purchasing professionals is to find effective ways of reducing costs and above all the key role it plays as a profit center and how it will lead their organizations successfully through the continuing turbulent times.
What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.
In this project, you will be visiting several different supermarkets to check prices on a few items on an imaginary grocery list. All the items must be of the same brand name and of the same size container. Also, all the prices must be checked on the same day.
When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.
The independent variable also known as manipulated variable is the store. Values are the name of stores that you visit.
The dependent variables (also known as responding variables) are the prices of the items that you need.
The constants in this experiment will be the brand name of the products, the quantity of the products, the size of each product, and the day the products are purchased or priced.
Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about what types of things affect the system you are working with. Identifying variables is necessary before you can make a hypothesis.
Before checking and comparing prices, write down which store do you think will have the best combined price for what you need. Also write why you think so.
Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a “control.” A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral “reference point” for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a “controlled experiment.”
- Prepare a list of items that you need to purchase. Following are sample products that we have chosen. You may choose to add or subtract any products from the following list. Also, you may increase the number of items on the list if you wish to do so.
- Oscar Myer Beef Bologna
- Hellmans Mayonnaise
- Chips Ahoy Cookies
- Minute Maid Fruit Punch
- Heinz Ketchup
- For each item in your list, decide about the quantity and packaging size that you want to purchase. Write the quantity and size next to each item.
- Go to three different supermarkets in your area. At each store, record the prices of the items in your list for same packaging and quantities that you have already decided on.
- Record the prices on your results table similar to the one below (the sample table below is for 3 different supermarkets and 5 different products):
|Product Name and quantity||Super Market 1||Super Market 2||Super Market 3|
|Oscar Myer Beef Bologna, ….|
|Hellmans Mayo 16oz.|
|Chips Ahoy Cookies, ….|
|Old Fashion Merita Bread, …|
|Minute Maid Fruit Punch, …|
|Frenchs classic yellow mustard 8oz|
|Heinz Ketchup, …|
After recording your data, add each column to determine the total cost for each store.
Use the totals in your results table to draw a bar graph. Each bar will represent a different store. The height of each bar represents the total cost of items if purchased from that store. You may use 1 inch or 1/2 inch for each dollar cost.
This bar graph will illustrate which store has the best overall savings for the products you have chosen to purchase. Your graph will also give a good conclusion on which store is the best for saving money.
Materials and Equipment:
Notebook and pen or pencil for recording data.
Results of Experiment (Observation):
Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.
Write your calculations (if any) in this section of your report.
Summary of Results:
Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.
It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.
Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.
Related Questions & Answers:
What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.
If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.
If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.
Visit your local library to see if you can find books that can help you in cost calculations. If you do, write the name, writer and publisher of such books in your report.