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Advice for teachers -

Measurement in science


A major aim of science is to develop explanations for natural phenomena and events that are supported by evidence. For VCE Physics students this involves considering the quality of evidence and of explanations that are based upon it so that questions such as ‘Can I rely on the data I have generated when drawing conclusions?’, ‘Does the difference between one measurement and another indicate a real change in what is being measured?’ and ‘Are uncertainties in the measurements small enough to enable appropriate conclusions to be drawn?’ are central to any discussion of investigation results prior to formulating a conclusion.

The following section defines important terms. These terms arise from investigations and evaluations of scientific claims presented in the public domain, consistent with the terminology used by scientists but adapted (i.e. simplified without deviation from internationally agreed definitions) for VCE Physics. The main reference source has been International Vocabulary of Metrology – Basic and General Concepts and Associated Terms, VIM, 3rd edition, JCGM 200:2008 and accessed at: