Lab 4 - Biology 05LA Winter Quarter 2010 Lab 4 page 1 LAB 4...

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Biology 05LA – Winter Quarter 2010 Lab 4 – page 1 LAB 4 -- HYPOTHESIS-BASED SCIENCE; AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE APPROACH TO PROBLEM SOLVING. Science has been described as a “way of knowing”, that is, it is an activity whereby we learn about our world. This learning can be achieved by two different approaches. The first applies to inquiries in new or poorly understood areas and is referred to as discovery or descriptive science. Here, data is collected in the form of careful observations of a phenomenon of interest. This data is then carefully analyzed and recorded in a retrievable manner. As more and more data is collected, generalizations about this phenomenon can be made and our understanding thus increases. The type of reasoning by which this understanding was achieved is referred to as inductive because larger generalizations are derived from many smaller specific observations. In contrast, hypothesis-based science deals with questions in areas that are better understood. Here, problem solving begins with a well-defined question. The next step involves consideration of what is known about related phenomena and how we came to know these things. This information is then used as the basis for formulating a hypothesis, or possible answer to the question. The order in which this factual information is assembled is determined with the use of deductive reasoning . That is, it is ordered in a manner that places more general knowledge first and continues with information that is progressively more specific to the hypothesis being developed. There are two important concerns regarding hypothesis formation. First, hypotheses need to be falsifiable with an experimental test. Second, a workable experiment must be designed to make the test. Once a suitable hypothesis has been proposed and an experiment designed, a prediction is made about the expected outcome of the experiment given that the hypothesis is correct. This predictability is made possible by the deductive reasoning that was used in the formulation of the hypothesis in concert with an awareness of the experiment that will be performed. What is desirable here is an if/then relationship between the hypothesis and the prediction. This is presented as follows: if the proposed hypothesis is acceptable and the experiment is performed, then the predicted result should be attained. The experiment is then performed. If the prediction matched the experimental result, then the hypothesis is conditionally supported in light of the knowledge on which it was based. If the prediction did not match the experimental result, then there was a problem with the hypothesis, the experimental approach, or both. In either case, the hypothesis and/or the experiment needs to be reconsidered. In the real world of scientific research, it is not at all unusual for predictions not to match
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This note was uploaded on 04/06/2010 for the course BIOL 5LA taught by Professor Haimo during the Spring '08 term at UC Riverside.

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Lab 4 - Biology 05LA Winter Quarter 2010 Lab 4 page 1 LAB 4...

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