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Notes

Notes

Scientific Method
Chapter 1: Section 2
How Scientists Work

How Scientists Work:


Solving the Problems

Much of biology deals with solving problems


These problems can be environmental,
ecological, health related, etc.
No matter what types of problems
are being studied, scientists use
the same problem-solving steps
called
The Scientific Method

Scientific Method
Definition
The scientific method is A logical and systematic approach or
process to problem solving.
An organized way of using evidence
to learn about the natural world.
According to Wikipedia - Scientific method is a body
of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring
new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating
previous knowledge. It is based on gathering observable
, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific
principles of reasoning, the collection of data through
observation and experimentation, and the formulation
and testing of hypotheses.

Scientific Method
Listing the Steps

Make an Observation
Define the Problem
Research the Problem
State the Hypothesis
Experiment to test Hypothesis
Collect and Record Data
Analyze Data
Draw Conclusions
Determine Limitations
Report Results

If needed, Do more investigation

S
C
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E
N
T
I
F
I
C

M
E
T
H
O
D

O
V
E
R
V
I
E
W

First

Question

What does the scientist want


to learn more about?

Then

Research

Scientific Method
An Overview

Gathering of information

Next

Hypothesis

An Educated guess of an
answer to the question

Then

Procedure/
Method

Written and carefully


followed step-by-step
experiment designed to test
the hypothesis

Next

Data
And

Observations

Information collected during


the experiment
And
Written description of what
was noticed during the
experiment

Finally

Conclusion

Was the hypothesis correct


or incorrect?

First

Question

What
What does
does the
the scientist
scientist want
want
to
to learn
learn more
more about?

Then

Research

Scientific Method
An Overview

Gathering
Gathering of
of information
information

Next

Hypothesis

An Educated guess of an
answer
answer to
to the
the question
question

Then

Procedure/
Method

Written
Written and
and carefully
carefully
followed
followed step-by-step
step-by-step
experiment
experiment designed
designed to test
the
the hypothesis

Next

Data
And

Observations

Information
Information collected
collected during
the
the experiment
experiment
And
Written
Written description of what
was
was noticed during the
experiment
experiment

Finally

Conclusion

Was
Was the
the hypothesis
hypothesis correct
correct
or
or incorrect?
incorrect?

T
I
F
I
C

(Conclusions)

M
E
T
H
O
D

Procedures

E
N

Scientific
Method

(Experiments)

O
V
E
R
V
I
E
W

Findings

Hypothesis

S
C

Data
(Results)
Repeat steps 3-7 for competing hypotheses.
Competing hypotheses may include revisions
of the original hypothesis suggested by the
results of the testing process.

S
Here
is another
C

example of how
O the
steps may go.
I

V
Even though we
E
show
the scientific
E
method
series
N
M as aR
of steps, keep in
mind E
that new
V
T
information or
I
T might
I
thinking
F
cause
to
Ha scientist
E
I
back
up and repeat
O
C
steps
at any W
point
during the process.
D

Make
Observations

Form
a
Define
/ Identify
Hypothesis
the
Problem
Test Hypothesis
Perform Experiments
New
Experiments
Organize and
Analyze Data

NO
Do Experiments
and Observations
Support Hypothesis?

Faulty
Experiments?

YES

Communicate
Results
Draw Valid
Conclusions

Scientific Method
Lets break
each of
these steps
down into
their
individual
components:

Ask Question
Do Background
Research
Construct
Hypothesis

Think!
Try Again

Test with an
Experiment
Analyze Results
Draw Conclusion

Hypothesis is True

Hypothesis is False
or Partially True

Report Results

1. Observing
As we all know, frogs have four legs.

Make an
observation
See
something
unusual
Frogs with
incorrect
number of
legs!

Whats up
with these
froggies?

2. Questioning
Recognize, state or define the
problem
Must be in the form of a question
The obvious question is:
What is causing these deformities?

3. Researching
Gather information related to the problem
Read, observe, measure, take samples, etc.
How frogs normally develop from eggs
The % of frogs with the
deformities
Number of other species in
the pond with deformities
Previous or new pollutants
in the pond
Change in amount of UV
(sunlight) exposure on eggs
Etc.

4. Hypothesizing
A hypothesis is:
An educated guess, trial answer, possible
solution, prediction
Must be a statement
Must be testable or measurable
Is based on your research
and previous experience

Hypothesizing
List possible explanations (alternative
hypotheses) based on your previous
experience (what you already know);
and on research you have done
all of the hypotheses must be testable
(no demons allowed!)

Hypothesizing
Disease
SomeRock
possible
explanations
(hypotheses)
Aliens
from
outer
space-etc.)Something
ElseChemical
PollutionGenetic
mutationUltraviolet
Radiation(virus,
parasite,
Loud
+
Roll
Musicfor
thehypothesis
frog deformities:
If
this
hypothesis
is
true,
then:
If
this
is
true,
then:
Another
possibility
that
we
might think of
Genetic
mutation
You
should
be
able
to to
find
a
likely
chemical
pollutant in
If
this
hypothesis
is
true,
then:
We
should
be
able
find
the
disease-causing
Sorry,
isChemical
predation
or
cannibalism,
which
seems
the
deformed frog
ponds
Pollution
agent
(for example,
parasites)
at
the
deformed
We
should
be
able
to
measure
unusually
high
If
we
mate
deformed
frogs
the
offspring
You
should
be
able
to
isolate
the
chemical
from
the
pond
to
be
the
best
explanation
for
certain
kinds
Okay,
this
is
testable,
this
isshow
not
allowed
because
frog
ponds
Ultraviolet
Radiation
levels
of
UV
radiation
atdeformities
deformed
frog sites
should
similar
water
of deformities
(frogs
with
missing
limbs).
We
should
be
able
to
find
the
parasites
in
the
use
these
same
levels
to can
but
WHY
test
it???
You
should
be
able
to
show
that
the
isolated
chemical
Disease
(virus
or
parasite
or...?)
The
deformities
should
be
fairly
uniform
it
is
not
testable
using
the
If thisthehypothesis
is kinds
true, of
then,
at minimum:
deformed
frogs
cause
exact
same
deformities
in the
lab
induce
the
exact
same
deformities
in the
Loud
Rock
&
Roll
Music
and
predictable
(get
real)
These
are
minimal
predictions;
you
may
havepond
already
We
should
find
frogs
other
We
should be able
to useand/or
the
same
parasite
to
Scientific
Method.
lab
The
particular
deformities
only
be
thought
ofthink
the
fact
that
chemical
pollution
should
affect
Aliens
from
outer
space
induce
the
exact
same
kinds
ofshould
deformities
in
the
critters
with
evidence
that
their
legs
have
Can
you
of
other
predictions
based
on
this
all four limbs
equally,
or that other organisms from the
Sheesh!
found
in
one
species
lab
hypothesis?
Something
elseor bitten
been
damaged
off as well
same
ponds
should show
deformities

5. Experimenting
Testing the hypothesis
Pick the hypothesis that makes the most
sense and is
easy to test
Then design a
controlled
experiment

Experimenting
Go to the web site for Hartwick College to
see the experiments
and how
the scientific method
was
actually used to find
out the
cause of recently
found frog deformities.
http://www.hartwick.edu/biology/def_frogs/I
ntroduction/Exploration/explore.html

Experimenting
Lets look at the text book example of
the Scientific Method using Redis Experiment
on Spontaneous Generation
He was trying to disprove
the idea of Spontaneous
Generation (or actually
that flies came from
maggots, which came
from flies)
Francesco Redi (1668)

Stating the Problem


Example: How do new living
things come into being?
Spontaneous generation once
commonly accepted
Redi wanted to show what
caused the appearance of
maggots (and then flies) on meat

Belief based on
prior observations

If leaf lands on water it becomes a fish


If bale of hay left in barn it produces mice
Muddy soil gives rise to frogs
Meat hung out in the market is the
source of flies

Belief based on
prior observations
Redi observed that maggots appeared
on meat a few days after flies were on
meat
No microscope = no way to see eggs
But Redi believed that maggots came
from eggs that were laid by flies

Forming a Hypothesis
Redis Hypothesis:
Flies produce maggots.
How could he test this?
Through a controlled experiment

Redis Controlled
Experiment
Redi used two groups of jars
Jars that contained meat and no cover
Jars that contained meat and gauze cover
Jars with meat
Uncovered jars
Covered jars

Control and
Experimental Groups
Control group: used as a standard of
comparison
Experimental group: the group containing
the factor (variable) that has been changed
(manipulated or independent variable)
Two groups
of jars
Uncovered jars
Covered jars

Variables in an
Experiment

Variables - Factors that can be changed


Controlled Variables - all the variables that remain
constant

Manipulated Variable - (also called the Independent


Variable) - factor in an experiment that a scientist
purposely changes

Responding Variable- (also called the Dependent


Variable) - the outcome or results, factor in an experiment
that may change because of the manipulated variable.
what a scientist wants to observe

Setting up a Controlled
Experiment
In a controlled experiment, only
one factor is changed at a time.
Independent variable: the
factor that is deliberately changed

Dependent variable:
the factor that the scientist wants
to observe; it changes in response
to the independent variable

Variables in Redis
Experiment
Controlled Variables: jars, type of meat,
location, temperature, time

Manipulated Variables:
gauze covering
that keeps flies
away from meat

Lets think about this.


1. Which is the control group? Uncovered jars
2. Which is the experimental group?
Two groups of
Jars with meat
Uncovered jars
Covered jars

Covered jars

Redis Experiment on Spontaneous Generation


OBSERVATIONS: Flies land on meat that is left uncovered. Later, maggots appear on the meat.
HYPOTHESIS: Flies produce maggots.
PROCEDURE
Covered jars

Uncovered jars
Controlled Variables:
jars, type of meat,
location, temperature,
time
Several
days pass
Manipulated Variables:
gauze covering that
keeps flies away from
meat

Responding Variable:
whether maggots
appear

Maggots appear

No maggots appear

CONCLUSION: Maggots form only when flies come in contact with meat. Spontaneous
generation of maggots did not occur.

6. Collect and Record Data


Data: observations and measurements
made in an experiment

Types of Recorded Data


Quantitative - observations that
involve measurements/numbers;
i.e. 3 days, 12 maggots, 4 g, 13 sec,
8 liters
Qualitative - observations that
do not involve numbers, are of a
descriptive nature
i.e. white maggots covered the meat,
leaves were all wilting

7. Analyze the Data


Examine data tables, charts,
and graphs
Examine experimental notes
Look for trends, patterns, and
averages
What does the data show
Put your data into words

8. Draw Conclusions
Restate the hypothesis:
Example: Flies produce maggots.
Accept or reject the hypothesis.
Support your conclusion with specific, numerical data.
What was Redis conclusion?
Flies lay eggs too small to be seen.
Maggots found on rotting meat are produced
from the eggs laid by flies.
Maggots are not appearing due to
spontaneous
generation!

9. Determine Limitations
Scientists look for possible
flaws in their research
They look for faulty
(inaccurate) data
They look for experimental
error or bias's
They decide on the validity
of their results
They make suggestions for improvement or
raise new questions

10. Publish Results


Communication is an
essential part of science

Redis experiment
on insects generation

Scientists report their


results in journals,
on the internet, or
at conferences
This allows their
experiments to be
evaluated and repeated
Scientists can build on previous
work of other scientists

Repeating the
Investigation
Sometimes results are unexpected.
Repeat the experiment!
John Needham challenged Redis experiment
and designed his own to show that
spontaneous generation CAN occur under
certain circumstances.
Lazzaro Spallanzini
designed a slightly
different experiment
to improve on
Needhams work

Repeating the
Experiment
(continued)

Louis Pasteur further modified the


experiment.

Scientific Method
How Scientists Work
Solving the Problems

The reason scientific work is called


RE-search rather than just "search "
is because it is an ongoing process
that often times changes our view of
the natural world. It is subject to
modification in light of new evidence
and new ways of thinking.

S
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Can you put these


steps in order?
2

10

Define the
Problem

Analyze
Data

Report Results

Make an
Observation

State the
Hypothesis

Determine

the
Problem

Steps of Scientific
Method in order
1

Make an

Define the
Problem

Observation

Analyze
Data

State the
Hypothesis

the
Problem

10

Determine

Report Results

Scientific Theory
A theory is an
explanation of a set of
related observations
or events based upon
proven hypotheses
and verified multiple
times by detached
groups of researchers

Scientific Law
Scientific laws represent
the cornerstone
of scientific discovery
They must be simple,
true, universal, and
absolute
If a law ever did not
apply, then all
science based
upon that law would
collapse

Scientific Method