BIOL6C - Exercise 1A[Pre-Lab Scientific Investigation...

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Biology 6C 3 Exercise 1A [Pre-Lab] Scientific Investigation: Experimental Design th ed. Science assumes that biological systems are understandable and can be explained by fundamental rules or laws. Scientific investigation involves asking questions, making observations, developing explanatory hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses. Scientists closely scrutinize investigations in their field, and each scientist must present his or her work at scientific meetings or in professional publications, providing evidence from observations and experiments that supports the scientist's explanations of biological phenomena. In this lab exercise, you will review the processes that scientists use to ask and answer questions about the living world and develop skills to conduct and critique scientific investigations. Like scientists, you will work in research teams, collaborating as you ask questions and propose explanations, design experiments, predict results, collect and analyze data, and interpret your results. Asking a Question For a question to be pursued by scientists, the phenomenon must be well defined and testable. The elements must be measurable and controllable. There are limits to the ability of science to answer questions. Consider the question: Do excessively high temperatures cause people to behave immorally? Can a scientist investigate this question? Temperature is certainly a well- defined, measurable, and controllable factor, but morality of behavior is not scientifically measurable. Thus, there is no experiment that can be performed to test the question. Read the following questions and circle the number of each that could be answered scientifically. 1. Does watching television before the age of one contribute to the development of autism in children? 2. Did the use of the herbal supplement ephedra cause the death of the 18-year old soccer player? 3. Does global warming cause an increase in frequency and intensity of forest fires? 4. Do cactus spines reduce herbivory? 5. Should human embryonic stem cells be used to treat Parkinson's disease? How did you decide which questions can be answered scientifically?
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4 Exercise 1. Scientific Investigation: Experimental Design Formulating Hypotheses As questions are asked, scientists attempt to answer them by proposing possible explanations. Those proposed explanations are called hypotheses . A hypothesis tentatively explains something observed. It proposes an answer to a question. Consider question 4, preceding. One hypothesis based on this question might be "Spines on cacti reduce herbivory". The hypothesis has suggested a possible explanation for the observed spines. A scientifically useful hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable. To satisfy the requirement that a
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BIOL6C - Exercise 1A[Pre-Lab Scientific Investigation...

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