Biology as Poetry: Science

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Negative Control

Conditions for which a positive result intentionally does not occur, that is, a negative result instead occurs.

The negative control typically is what one compares the outcome of an experiment to. That is, a positive result (change in the dependent variable) is something that is different from what one sees with the negative control whereas a negative result is the same as that seen with negative control.

Negative controls can also show that the experimental conditions are capable of producing a negative result. For example, if one observes what one perceives to be a change in dependent variables, then even if one can compare that result quantitatively or qualitatively with initiation conditions, to gain a sense of how much change occurred, one still will not have a means of knowing whether the positive experimental results could possibly have not have occurred.

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