What Science Is

What Science Is

What Science Is Dr. Moody How Science Works Science is the systematic study of the observable world (= natural phenomena) and how it works. How do we gather information/knowledge? 1. Make careful and thoughtful observations 2. Through inference Inference: A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence or reason

Types of Inference (Reasoning) Inductive Inference: Arriving at a conclusion based on repeated observation. Repeated observation of the phenomenon supports my hypothesis. The sun came up yesterday and today, so I predict it will come up tomorrow. Can only say that our conclusion is probably true. Types of Inference (Reasoning) Deductive Inference: Logical process of using

accepted facts to draw conclusions. Expressed using syllogisms: If A then B (Premise) A (Premise) therefore, B (Conclusion) Problem: If the premises are not true, then the conclusions might be wrong. 1. All men are mortal. Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal. 2. All mammals are warm-blooded. All dogs are warm-blooded. Therefore, all dogs are mammals.

3. All people sweat a lot after they run a marathon. You are sweating a lot. Therefore, you must have just run a marathon. Scientific Inquiry Scientific inquiry: ways by which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations for natural phenomena based on evidence derived from their work. Use of critical, logical, and creative thinking skills to raise and engage questions of interest. Requires: Objectivity

Skepticism Critical Thinking and Science Critical thinking is the deliberate process of judging the quality of information before accepting it. Critical thinking should be a part of your everyday life: When listening to the media Surfing the internet Listening to me, reading textbooks, etc. HOWEVER: YOU MUST BE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT A SUBJECT BEFORE YOU CAN EFFECTIVELY DISCUSS

IT! The Scientific Method (or the 7 steps of scientific inquiry) The Question 1) Explore a phenomenon Make observations What do you know about the phenomenon? What do others know about the phenomenon? 2) Focus on a question Construct a question to investigate based on your

observations Is the question testable? Construct a hypothesis (more on this later) State a prediction Hypotheses A hypothesis is a testable explanation for a natural phenomenon. Hypotheses are formed based on observation and current theory (using inductive or deductive reasoning). Often stated as an Ifthen statement Example: Effects of fertilizer and light on plant

growth The Scientific Method (or the 7 steps of scientific inquiry) The Procedure 3) Plan the experiment/investigation What data needs to be collected?

What are the variables and constraints? What will serve as a control for comparison? What materials are required? 4) Conduct the experiment/investigation Conduct the experiment as planned Collect data Record data

Graph results The Scientific Method (or the 7 steps of scientific inquiry) The Results 5) Analyze the Data and Evidence Interpret and make meaning from the data Look for patterns and relationships among variables Analyze the data and evidence and determine the validity of your hypothesis (supported or rejected?) Make a claim based on your evidence

6) Construct New knowledge Form an explanation (model) from the claim and supporting evidence Connect your new knowledge to your prior knowledge and the knowledge of others (existing theories) The Scientific Method (or the 7 steps of scientific inquiry) The Results (continued) 7) Communicate New Knowledge Discuss your results and conclusions with others Use scientific reasoning skills to link your claim

and supporting evidence Engage in scientific argumentation, allowing others to critique your experiment/investigation and claim, and provide counterarguments to your findings. Consider follow-up questions for investigations Communicating New Knowledge Research must be reported to the scientific community, generally as a paper in a scientific journal. Scientific research is thoroughly reviewed by other scientists (peer review)

If the research has been carefully carried out using the scientific method then it can be published and becomes part of the primary literature (so and so published a paper in the Journal of Blah Blah Blah). Scientific Argumentation 1) Question Stems from observation & guides investigation 2) Claim Your tentative conclusion From prior knowledge and assumptions

3) Evidence Data that supports or refutes your claim/hypothesis 4) Explanation Explain your claim based on your new data/knowledge 5) Rebuttal Questions regarding the reasoning used and the validity of your evidence. Counterclaims (data can be interpreted in multiple ways!) Theories and Laws

Laws describe how a system behaves (e.g., the law of gravity). Theories explain those laws. In our everyday use of the word, it often means imperfect fact or speculation. In science, a theory is something VERY SPECIFIC!!! Theories and Laws A scientific theory is something that has been tested many different times, in many different ways, and has not yet been disproved.

Theories are supported or rejected by testing hypotheses. Theories can change! HOWEVER, theories are rejected ONLY when they: Are replaced by new theories that explain predictions of the old theory AND make new predictions! How Science Works Societys traditional views of nature sometimes differ with scientific findings (e.g., Capernicus

heliocentric model and Galileo). You have to remember that science can only describe and attempt to explain the physical world. Veritasium Clip Can You Solve This? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKA4w2O 61Xo&app=desktop Science vs Pseudoscience Pseudo = false

The only way to spot a fake is to know as much as possible about the real thing! Science vs Pseudoscience Science

Results are verifiable and can be reproduced Clear what methods were used to reach conclusions Focus on failed predictions of a theory Progresses; more and more is learned about the process under study Convinces by appeal to evidence No conflicts of interest; no personal financial stake in

results of scientific studies Pseudoscience Results are not verifiable and cannot be reproduced

Methods are often unknown Failed predictions are ignored, excused, or even hidden and lied about No progress is made; nothing concrete is learned Convinces by appeal to belief or faith Pseudoscientists often earn some or all of their living selling their services Scientific Experiments

Used to test hypotheses Conducted under carefully controlled conditions. where experimental variables can be controlled. Ideally, conditions should be the same for all groups except the variable you are interested in. Researcher changes one variable (independent variable) and observes or measures the result (the dependent variable). Scientific Experiments The independent variable is the variable the scientist changes in the experiment The dependent variable is what the scientist

measures in the experiment A control group is a group in which no changes are made. It used as a standard for comparison. An experimental group is subjected to the same conditions as the control group except for the variable(s) being studied. Qualitative vs Quantitative Data Qualitative Data Deals with descriptions (qualitative = quality) Data that can be observed but not measured E.g.) colors, textures, smells, tastes, appearance, relative size, etc.

Quantitative Data Deals with numerical descriptions (quantitative = quantity) Data that can be measured E.g.) length, height, area, volume, mass, temperature, time, velocity, etc. Back to our plant growth experiments Fertilizer Experiment Work in pairs to complete the following: 1) State a hypothesis

2) State a prediction 3) Identify the experimental groups 4) What could be used as a control group? 5) Identify the dependent variable 6) Identify the independent variable Sampling Error in Experiments It is important to conduct multiple trials with each independent variable. This is called replicaton. Researchers cannot typically survey an entire population, and must instead rely on data collected from a subset of the population (thank goodness for statistics!). Sampling errors occur when conclusions inferred from the

subset differ from results from the whole population. Sampling errors occur most often when sample sizes are small. Selecting a larger population subset or repeating the experiment many times reduces sampling error. Dr. R.M. Moody A) Natalie, blindfolded, randomly plucks a jelly bean from a jar. There are 120 green and 280 black jelly beans in that jar, so 30 percent of the jelly beans in the jar are green, and 70 percent are black. B) The jar is hidden from Natalies view before she removes her blindfold. She sees only one

green jelly bean in her hand and assumes that the jar must hold only green jelly beans. C) Blindfolded again, Natalie picks out 50 jelly beans from the jar and ends up with 10 green and 40 black jelly beans. D) The larger sample leads Natalie to assume that one-fth of the jars jelly beans are green (20 percent) and four-fths are black (80 percent). The sample more closely approximates the jars actual green-to-black ratio of 30 percent to 70 percent. The more times Natalie repeats the sampling, the greater the chance she will come close to knowing the actual ratio. Dr. R.M. Moody

Heres an example with two experimental variables Example: Predation on butterflies by birds Researchers observed the behavior of peacock butterflies with and without predators in the wild: When a peacock butterfly rests in the absence of predators, it folds its wings so only the dark underside shows. When a butterfly sees a predator, it repeatedly flicks its paired forewings and hindwings open and closed, a movement that both makes wingspots visible and

produces hissing and clicking sounds. Dr. R.M. Moody Example: Predation on butterflies by birds Hypothesis 1: Butterflies with wing spots will be consumed less often by birds. How to control? Paint the spots. Hypothesis 2: Butterflies that produce noise with their hindwings will be consumed by birds less often those that do not. How to control? Remove the sound-producing structures of the

hindwings Each butterfly was then placed in a large cage with a hungry bird (blue tit). The same cage was used for all trials. Dr. R.M. Moody Example: Predation on butterflies by birds Independent Variables Dependent Variables

Dr. R.M. Moody Results and Conclusions Predation experiments revealed that birds are, indeed, deterred by peacock butterfly sounds, and even more so by wing spots. The presence of eye spots and sound-production significantly reduce butterfly predation by birds. This study provides evidence that eye spots and sound production evolved as anti-predatory traits. Dr. R.M. Moody

Your turn Vitamin C and Cancer in Mice It has been suggested that vitamin C supplements lower the risk of cancer in mammals. You are given 100 mice that have been bred to have an identical genetic make-up. You are asked to design an experiment to address the question of whether vitamin C lowers the risk of cancer in mice. --Form a hypothesis --State a prediction --Design an experiment to test your hypothesis --Identify the following:

Control group, treatment group, independent variable, and dependent variable Graphs Graphs help you interpret and communicate your results. Graphs show the relationship between your dependent and independent variable. Independent variable: What you change Dependent variable: What is measured Type of graph used dependents on the type of data being presented: Example: Continuous vs Discrete (categorical) Data

Dr. R.M. Moody Graphing Scientific Data Continuous or Chronological (=time) Data: Effect of temperature on growth rate Change in stock value through time Use a line graph or scatterplot Discrete (Categorical) Data: Whenever displaying categorical data or averages: Number of species per amount of area sampled Mean shell thickness of gastropods at multiple

study sites Presence/absence of traits Use a bar graph Dr. R.M. Moody Graphing Practice

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