PinkMonkey Online Study Guide-Biology
1.2 Scientific Methodology
To study the sciences, including biology,
a person must adopt a certain manner of thinking about questions,
The methods used to answer questions about biology require a scientist
to think about all the possibilities that could explain an observation.
The scientist then refers to the research that other scientists
and experts have done which might help him or her to better understand
the problem. Then experiments are designed which will rule out all
the possibilities exept one. If all possibilities exept one are
ruled out, then the remaining possibility must be true explanation.
Scientific method consists of the following steps.
The scientist objectively ( without forming
opinions yet) observes a particular phenomenon in nature or in the
labratory. A problem based on that observation is declared. The
scientist then formulates the required steps to solve the problem.
Because other scientists may also beworking on this same problem
or similar problems, the scientist must use the library to read
about what others have already discovered. This is necissary to
help design experiments that have already been done by others.
ii) Hpothesis, Experimental Inference, and Analysis
This next step is to form a hypothesis,
which is a simple statement that is either true or false. For example,
a scientist may exept that water is necessary to keep houseplants
alive. He might form the hypothesis, " water is necessary for
houseplants to remain alive," which is either true or false.
The perameters of the experiment would include houseplants with
water, and houseplants without water. The experiment is repeated
several times. In this case, the scientist could merely observe
the state of the plant ( dead or alive). In other experiments, the
hypothesis might require that actual measurements would be made,
such as the height of the plant, the number of leaves formed, etc.
Based on the outcome of the experiments
and whether the hypothesis was found to be true or proven to be
false, an inference is drawn,. In our example, the houseplants without
water would turn brown and die, so the scientist would infer that
water is necessary to keep houseplants alive. Therefore, our hypothesis
that " water is necessary for houseplants to remain alive"
would be supported ( i.e., not proven to be incorrect). This, and
other experiments which show that water is necessary for discoveries
are also discussed at scientific converences.
iv) Theory and Law
If many different experiments are performed
which all support a hypothesis, then it is likely to actually be
true. If most scientist have high confidence that a hypothesis to
be true, then it is now considered to be a theory. Theories are
hypotheses that sre assumed to be true. If a theory is tested and
retested in many ways, and no evidence can be found that proves
that it is not true, then it is eventually considered to be a fact
of nature, and is referred to as a " law"..
Table of Contents
1.0 - Introduction
1.1 Practical Biology
1.2 Scientific Methodology