At the beginning of the term, I was constantly repeating the mantra, “your data is your data” to the students — they came in expecting that science experiments had a foreordained conclusion, like a recipe that you followed and at the end you got cake. If there was no cake it’s a failure! That’s not true, though, that even if it doesn’t end up as you expected, it was still data. Unexpected data just takes more work to interpret (they don’t like that part) or that you need to do more experiments to puzzle out how it happened (they like that even less).
I’m grading lab reports now, and can say that they seem to have figured it out. They’ve stopped judging their results and are instead asking questions and analyzing, which is all I really want.
This would have been a good comic to include in their training early on, though.