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UCLA_LS1_Wk1_Demo - The Scientific Method Research Tools...

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1 The Scientific Method, Research Tools, and Techniques: Using the Library DEMO 1 Objectives In this demo section you will learn: how to utilize the scientific method; how to make observations and collect data; how to test an hypothesis using simple statistics; how to use different research tools provided by the library; how to research various scientific topics effectively; to question the reliability of your information sources. Welcome to Life Sciences 1! In this class, we will explore various aspects of biology focusing particularly on evolution, ecology, and biodiversity. The demonstration portion of the lab is designed to illustrate some of the important concepts from lecture. It is also your chance to explore some aspects of biology in further depth through in-class exercises and observation of living and preserved organisms. Many of you will see organisms you have never seen before. Hopefully, all of you will learn much more about biology. Above all, be enthusiastic and have fun! Scientific Method Modern science began during the Age of Enlightenment which swept through Europe in the late 16 th and early 17 th centuries. Although science itself was performed in all parts of the world and in various manners long before then, the philosophical advancements that were brought about in the Age of Enlightenment codified a logically sound methodology that is the basis for all modern scientific knowledge. The methodology, naturally, is referred to as the scientific method. The scientific method is a process that starts with careful observation of the natural world. From these observations, a hypothesis is formulated to explain the observation. The hypothesis is used to make predictions, and these are tested through experimentation. The experimental results are then interpreted to either support or reject the hypothesis. This process repeats, until the hypothesis is either highly supported or rejected.
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2 The scientific method is based on deductive reasoning championed by Francis Bacon (1561- 1626), a philosopher and scientist from the Age of Enlightenment. Deduction is a philosophical process in which you can conclude that something is true because it is a logical extension of other things you know to be true. For instance, because you know that there are two sides to a coin, you can deduce that the odds of attaining a head is 50%. Induction , on the other hand, is a form of reasoning in which multiple, consistent observations yield a conclusion. In our coin example, if you were to flip a coin 10 times and attained 10 heads, you might inductively conclude that a flipped coin always lands on heads. A conclusion based on inductive reasoning, however, is easily negated: a single tail in our example would disprove our conclusion. Often induction is used to develop hypotheses, because hypothesis development is based on observations. These hypotheses are in turn tested through experimentation and rejected or supported through deductive reasoning.
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