The ComPADRE Collections


Initial Publication Date: November 4, 2009
  • 2001 AAAS benchmarks: Chapter 9 - The Benchmarks for Science Literacy, by American Association for the Advancement of Science, "are statements of what all students should know or be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology by the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12." Chapter 9 describes in part, what students should know about measurement and uncertainty.
  • International Organization for Standardization, Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement (GUM) (ISO, Geneva, 1995) - This is the internationally agreed-upon standard for describing measurement uncertainty. While it is too technical to be of much use for introductory students or teachers, the methods described in this module are intended to be conceptually consistent with ISO GUM document. Specifically, the ISO GUM requires that measurements are expressed as a range of values, that is, as a number plus or minus some uncertainty.
  • B.N. Taylor and C.E. Kuyatt, Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST Measurement Results(NIST Technical Note 1297, 1994) - This document describes how labs and research organizations should communicate measurements. This document is not as technical as the ISO GUM document, and is a useful resource for teachers. Again, the methods proposed in this module are intended to be consistent with this guide
  • S. Allie, A. Buffler, B. Campbell, F. Lubben, D. Evangelinos, D. Psillos, and O. Valassiades, 2003.Teaching measurement in the introductory physics laboratory,The Physics Teacher, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp. 394-401 - This article describes the shortcomings of the traditional methods of teaching measurement and suggests an alternative approach, based on the ISO GUM (see above).
  • Buffler, Andy; Allie, Saalih; and Lubben, Fred, 2008.Teaching Measurement and Uncertainty the GUM Way, The Physics Teacher, Volume 46, Issue 9, pp. 539-543 - This article introduces a method for teaching measurement and uncertainty to introductory level college students. The authors provide and describe teaching materials (see below) that can be used to teach undergraduate science students techniques for measurement.
  • A. Buffler, S. Allie, F. Lubben, and B. Campbell, 2007.Introduction to Measurement in the Physics Laboratory . A Probabilistic Approach, Ed. 3.4 (Department of Physics, University of Cape Town) - This is essentially a textbook for teaching measurement and uncertainty to undergraduate science students. It is very complete and clear.
  • Kanari, Zoe and Millar, Robin, 2004.Reasoning from Data: How Students Collect and Interpret Data in Science Investigations, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v41 n7 p748-769 (ERIC #:EJ760067) - These articles provide evidence that students' misconceptions about measurement and uncertainty can hinder their ability to acquire knowledge during inquiry-based activities.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report andSummary for Policymakers (pdf file) - This is an example of how scientists communicate results to be used by non-scientists. As a matter of scientific literacy, readers of this report must be fluent in the concepts of measurement uncertainty. Data and calculation results presented in the report include uncertainties. The reader's ability to understand uncertainty is critical to being able to interpret and use these results to inform decisions. Note that the results include extensive use of uncertainty.
  • Serway, Raymond A., 2008. Faughn Jerry S,Holt Physics, Holt McDougal; ISBN-13: 978-0030368165 - A popular text for high school physics instruction.
  • Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2007.Glencoe Physics: Principles and Problems, Glencoe McGraw-Hill, ISBN-13: 978-0078807213 - Another popular text for high school physics instruction.
  • Halliday, David, 2004.Fundamentals of Physics, 7th Edition, John Wiley & Sons; 7th edition; ISBN-13: 978-0471683544 - One of the popular texts for first year college physics.
  • Introduction to Measurements & Error Analysis (PDF) - First of three examples of university lab manuals that approach measurement uncertainty in a manner reasonably consistently with the GUM method.
  • Notes on Data Analysis and Experimental Uncertainty - Third of three examples of university lab manuals that approach measurement uncertainty in a manner reasonably consistently with the GUM method.

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