How to write an error analysis

We obtain scientific knowledge by conducting an experiment and making measurements. Measurements can be uncertain because some small error might occur. Most numerical statements are exact, but some uncertainty come from various sources, the process of evaluating such uncertainty is called error analysis. Error analysis includes calculations of the expected results based on a specific percentage.

What to consider before writing an error analysis

The most important aspects to consider when writing an error analysis is the measured value, which includes an estimate of the confidence levels. Proper reporting of an experimental result helps us analyze the uncertainty and make the judgment about the quality of the experiment credible. Without understanding the uncertainty, it not easy to answer the research question. To determine the accuracy level in an experiment, it is important to know the true value.

How to start an error analysis

After obtaining the measurements from the experiment, before starting an error analysis report, we need to decide on how the measurement is made. We can use two methods these are repeating the experiment as individual measured values combined with the final average value, or measurement of the value is combined mathematically without the measured values to determine the final measured value.

Once the percent of error has been known, then we can proceed with writing the error analysis paper.  The error analysis will describe why two measurements differ.  This discussion is based on the final measured value and why they might differ from the known value.

How to write an outline

I. Heading: the title of the experiment

II. Abstract:
Purpose of the experiment

III. Experiment :
Diagram (where applicable)
Data collected

IV. Analysis
Sample calculation
Error calculation for the different equation

V. Experiment results. (Using graphs where possible).

VI. Conclusion : Stating whether or not there is agreement with the experimental error the conclusion needs to include discussion of physical aspects examined in the experiment

How to write a thesis

The error analysis report starts with the introduction section to provide readers with answers to the experiment question; this includes what the experiment is supposed to answer. The introduction gives a summary of previous related to the research and the gaps identified that the research has raised. The thesis presents a  brief description of the experiment and what is intends to address. The thesis statement needs to capture the interest of the reader providing the orientation of the experiment to convince the reader the experiment is worth reading.

Tips on body writing

The body paragraph of an error analysis essay presents mostly the theory for the experiment that includes mathematical or theoretical background, the assumptions made for the reader to understand the experiment. The body paragraph can be extensive depending on the type of experiment. For example, if you measured the average velocity of some interval for the experiment the theory section needs explain the measurement of the distance and time to understand how the velocity occurs.

Tips on conclusion writing

In writing the conclusion, it is appropriate to review the purpose of the experiment and the summary including research findings and the implications of the experiment results.

The conclusion needs to remind the reader of the research question presented in the introduction. The conclusion briefly reviews the information presented in the essay, but not new information that was not part of the paper. The conclusion needs to highlight the most important results that make the experiment to be unique.

Tips on revision

After completing the draft, before submitting the paper, you need to make sure that the paper has all the section mentioned in the outline.  There should be links between sections, for example, you need to review if the test in the analysis section was derived from the body paragraphs. It is important to review if the measurements described are effectively addressed in the analysis and if the results support the discussion and conclusion.


Error analysis sample written by

Heading: The Speed of Sound


The experiment aimed at determining the speed of sound when timed within an interval that it takes to make a loud bang from a short distance. The average time  expected for the sound to travel is 1.2 seconds for a distance of 400meters. The speed of sound is calculated by 34 m/s which is  corresponds with the acceptable value of 300C  at 349 meters per second.


The speed of sound can be applied in several situations like to determine the distance when designing an auditorium among other application. Measuring echo is relatively an easy way to measure speed.   Two blocks of wood is used   in the experiment to determine the distance using counting wheel .The circumference  was used to determine the time the sound travels  and the echo. The exercise was repeated  20 times to minimize experimental errors. The experiment calculated the speed of the sound and  distance by the measurement of time. Since the speed of sound varied because of the temperature of air, the temperature measurement was taken .



A meter stick


Small blocks of wood 2

Measuring wheel

A concrete bench was set up next to the grass to give us an easy way to measure distance and help us hold the stopwatch and the blocks together.  The stopwatch was used to determine the time of the echo, a slight delay occurred to determine the echo and the reaction time of a ten minutes was recorded. The experiment was repeated five times. We doubled the measurement to get the total distance of the sound that had traveled.


The average of measurement took 1.55 seconds with a standard deviation of 0.05 seconds. The uncertainty of the measurement was 1.55 seconds. The similar values for the other measurement were different because of the reaction time and were at 1.43 seconds with an uncertainty level of  9.1 %. The uncertainty level was  reasonable. After reviewing this, we arrived at the total distance of light at 400 meters  wand  an estimated uncertainty being 1.0meters  ,the  overall  uncertainty of the distance measurement was at  0.2%.


The experiment measured the time taken for the echo to reach the specific distance . Two different  values were measured to  determine the speed of the sound .  The accepted value the of a speed of sound was based on the observed temperature that makes it accurate therefore experiment confirms that speed can affect the time sound travels within a certain distance.

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