BIO120H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter A: Null Hypothesis, Confounding

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27 Nov 2018
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BIO120: Adaptation and Biodiversity Lab Manual (Appendix A The
Scientific Method)
In association with Test 2
Introduction: Why We Rely on the Scientific Method
- Scientific method is tool used to achieve high standards of research
- Humans prone to biases, beliefs, prejudices, or expectations scientific method enables us to
overcome these inherent biases and conduct logically sound, reliable research
- Scientific method is a series of steps:
1. Observing outside world through our senses
2. Asking a question about a natural phenomenon that interests us
3. Hypothesizing an explanation for the phenomenon
4. Testing the hypothesis through a correlational or experimental study
5. Collecting and analyzing data from the experiment
6. Creating a conclusion from the experimental data
- Scientific method is often cyclical; experiment may provide scientist with more accurate
observations which permits refinement of question and allows for process to be started again
Observation: Receiving Knowledge of the Outside World
- All science begins with observations of a phenomenon that captures our interest
- Preliminary observations allows us to formulate questions about our surroundings, which we can
then investigate
Question: The “Howsand “Whys” of Nature
- Questions we ask about natural systems should lead to clear hypotheses that may provide insight
into observations
- Fundamental part of scientific method is recognition of good questions; best questions are
relevant and have capacity to be tested (answered) must be appropriate methods for testing
question
- There are different types of questions you can ask about phenomenon of interest
- Form of question can influence type and scope of study used to investigate phenomenon
- Questions can generally be categorized as “how” or “why” questions
- Most ecologists and evolutionary biologists are concerned with answering “why” questions about
natural phenomena
Hypothesis: A Tentative Answer to Your Question
- Hypothesis clearly stated, proposed explanation for observations
- Null hypothesis states that the factor you are interested in has no effect on the observed results,
while your hypothesis states that it has an effect on the results
- Hypothesis can be defined as a tentative answer to the question stemming form observations;
states that one or more factors influence observed phenomenon
- Hypotheses are statements, not questions; not random guesses, but statements informed by all
relevant observations of the phenomenon
- Hypotheses are influenced by scientist’s experiences, prior knowledge, and imagination
- Hypothesis is never proven
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