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The Scientific Process
Transcript of The Scientific Process
4. Set up
5. Do it! "Do frogs do better during the full moon?" "Do frogs become evil during the full moon?" Nothing regarding morality... Can't be too broad either... Bingo! Here's one! "Do frogs fight more frequently during the full moon?" It's relatively focused and unbiased by ethics; a quantifiable solution can be found. Now that we have a question, we can move on to the next part of the planning phase... There are three types of variables you need to worry about... 1.The Independent Variable 2. The Dependent Variable 3. The Standardized Variable(s) This is the variable you control or change
(i.e. The phase of the moon during monitoring) These are the variables that will remain constant throughout the experiment
(i.e. Species of frog, time of year, environment, etc.)* After we have a rough idea of the variables, it is time to address our original question.... Limiting the number of these variables is essential to the sucess of your experiment; too many things changing at once will muddy your results!
Remember: Simple is better!
Though it may sound daunting, a hypothesis is simply an educated guess. "If ____________,
then ___________." Simple as that! Like the original question, the hypothesis should be testable through data collection and scientific method. Our Hypothesis:
"If the moon is at or close to the middle of its cycle (full), then the number of nocturnal frog fights will be higher than when the moon is waxing or waning." The hypothesis must be able to be answered "no." Your experiment should be aimed at proving it wrong. If it cannot, then your hypothesis is supported; otherwise, it is most likely false. Hence, science in itself is an accumulation of knowledge; by doing an experiment, you're adding to that knowledge.
Don't you feel special? The Format? With a plan as to "WHAT?" firmly in place, we can now focus on the "HOW?"... -Levels of treatment are simply the amount you change the Independent Variable for each run of the test. (i.e. The moon phases: Tests during the waxing phases, once during the full moon, and during the waning phases.) -You also need to set a control treatment. This is a stable treatment that represents the "normal" level of the dependent variable; the level that all other data is comparable to. (In our experiment, this would be the number of frog fights during a new moon) This is the variable that is measured in the experiment
(i.e. Number of fights frogs have) After you get all of that planned, write down a procedure! That way, others can follow in your footsteps, and the experiment can be repeated. Finally, all the planning is done! Now there's only one thing left to do... Now DO IT! Easy as that! Well, sort of... The experiment should be repeatable; the more times you do it, the more credible your results are Why did your hypothesis fail or succeed? Also, after the experiment, a good scientist analyzes the results:
What unknown factors could have changed your results? What would you change if you did it again? What surprised you? Why? Why is this result important? After examining your results, THEN you're finally done.
Congratulations! You're a bonafide scientist now! ...Or are you? Maybe the results inspired another question in you. Then the cycle continues, and you must revisit.... Good Luck!