HLTB15H3 Lecture Notes - Design Of Experiments, Atomism, Determinism

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16 Feb 2011
Lecture 5 Science in Health Research
What is science?
More than just knowing by analysis
The Scientific Method
Experimentation - explore observations and answer questions
Search for cause and effect relationships in nature
Systematic, objective, analytical, and interpretative reproducible
Short History of Scientific Methods
1600BC - Edwin Smith papyrus
Components: examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis
400BC Democritus
Inductive reasoning - draws conclusions from a observations
320BC Aristotle
Subdivision of knowledge
(physics, poetry, zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, and biology)
300BC Euclid's Elements
200BC First catalogued library
Through to the 12th century
Controlled experiments, methods of citation, peer review, open inquiry, development
of consensus
Experimental method: observations, experiments and rational arguments in Book of
The Canon of Medicine and Book of Healing - describes methods critical to inductive
logic and the scientific method, and develops examination and experimentation as a
means for scientific inquiry
Through to the 21st century
Roger Bacon - described a repeating cycle of observation, hypothesis,
experimentation, and verification.
Controlled experiments- by Francis Bacon - Novum Organum (1622) - induction
Other events
Galileo (1564–1642)
the true method was being practiced by Galileo, who, with a combination of observation,
hypothesis, mathematical deduction and confirmatory experiment founded the science of
dynamics - Encyclopedia Britannica (1970)
1595 Microscope
1600 Laboratory
1608 Telescope
1637 Descartes Scientific Method
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1650 Society of experts (the
Royal Society)
1665 Repeatability established
1665 Scholarly journals
1675 Peer review
1687 Hypothesis/prediction
(Isaac Newton)
1739 - Treatise of Human Nature
1753 - Controlled experiment -
James Lind's
research into Scurvy
1877 - Randomization
1885 - Blinded randomized
1934 - Falsifiability
1937 - Controlled placebo trial
1946 - Computer simulation
1950 - Double blind experiment
1962 - Meta study
Scientific Methods
Method dependent on assumptions about society
Induction - to lead to a conclusion
Identifies similarities within a group of particulars in order to arrive at a general
principle or statement
oIf for test A, all questions are from a particular source
oTest B, all questions are from same source
oTest C, same patterns
oConclusion questions for next test will come from the identified source
Deduction - to draw a conclusion from
Formation of a concept or idea derived from a general principle or statement
oIf the malaria parasite is found in the Anopheles mosquito and mosquitos
feed on human blood then Anopheles is a vector for malaria transmission
oIf all questions are derived from this particular source and a test is
scheduled for next week, then questions on this test will come from the
identified source
The roles of empiricism and probabilistic deductive logic
1) Empiricism
-heart of the modern scientific method
-theories should be based on our observations
2) Probabilistic inductive logic
Hypotheses Falsification
Knowledge develops as hypotheses become falsified
-Critical thought leads to elimination of false theories
-Generalisations are tentative hypothesis on trial
-Generalisations should then either be:
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