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Scientific Method

Journal Question #2
Differentiate between pseudoscience and
Scientific Method
1. Observation
- begins with an observation of an event that leads to
a question
- example:
Observation - an owl catches a
mouse in the dark.
Question – How do owls detect
prey on dark nights?
Examples of scientific method in this presentation are derived from Modern Biology textbook 2003
2. Form a hypothesis
- we combine the observation with our previous
knowledge to form an educated (logical) guess as to how
the event is occurring. (a hypothesis)
- example
1. The owl uses its
sight to detect mice
in the dark.
2. The owl uses its
hearing to detect
mice in the dark
3. The owl uses heat
to detect mice in the
3. Experiment
A. Design
control group – group used for comparison
experimental group – group exposed to the
factor being tested.
independent variable – variable manipulated
by the researcher
dependent variable – variable being measured
- example
control group - A. owls in the light
experimental group - B. owls in the dark
independent variable – amount of light
dependent variable – ability of the owl to catch
the mouse.
B. Data Collection
data – information gained from observation
qualitative data – description of what our senses
quantitative data – data collected as numerical
- example
The ability of the owl to
strike the mouse in the
dark will be measured
and compared by
determining the distance
from the owl’s strike to the
mouse and to the leaf in
the light and the dark.
C. Analysis
- must choose the best way to organize the data for
best interpretation
- organization options : tables, pictures, graphs, etc.
- graphs
Line Graph
- mostly used to
track changes of
time or show trends
Bar Graph
- mostly used to
compare things
between different
Pie Chart
- mostly used to
compare parts of
the whole
- example
4. Conclusion
- researchers makes a conclusion based on the
interpretation of the data.
- example
based on the results of the owl experiment
researchers believe that the owl is using its
sense of hearing to detect mice in the dark
5. Reporting
- results are published in scientific journals
- peer reviewed
Abstract, Introduction/Background,
Materials and Method, Results,
- example
Metric Laboratory Preview
1. half of the class will start this lab
2. work in pair – does not matter what station you
start at
3. read through the whole lab before starting!
Graphing Laboratory Preview
1. half of the class will start this lab
2. in part B all graphs must be done on the computer
using excel or another graphing program
3. if you do not have access to a computer later today
or tonight, make sure to do all your graphs before
you leave
Homework Reminder
Field Research due Tomorrow!
Metric Lab must be handed in before you go
Graphing lab due Wednesday
Simpson hand out due Tomorrow!