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Chapter 1

BIOL 1500 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Scientific Literacy, Null Hypothesis, Blind Experiment

Course Code
BIOL 1500
Tanya Da Sylva

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BIOL 1500
{Science} is not simply a body of knowledge or a list of facts to be remembered. It is an
intellectual activity, encompassing
observation, description, experimentation, and explanation
natural phenomena.
{Biology} is the study of living things. The four questions in biology:
What is the chemical and physical basis for life and its maintenance?
How do organisms use genetic information to build themselves and to reproduce?
What are the diverse forms that life on earth takes and how has that diversity arisen?
How do organisms interact with each other and with their environment?
{Scientific literacy} is a general, fact based understanding of the basics of biology and other
{Biological literacy} is the ability to use the process of scientific inquiry to think creatively about
real-world issues that have a biological component, communicate these thoughts to others, and
integrate these ideas into your decision making.
{Superstition} is the irrational belief that actions that are not logically related to a course of
events can influence its outcome.
{Scientific method} Beginning with someone observing a phenomenon and proposing an
explanation for it, this process of examination and discovery is referred to as the scientific
{Empirical} is based on experience and observations that are rational, testable, and repeatable.
The empirical nature of the scientific approach makes it self-correctingincorrect ideas are
discarded in favour of more accurate explanations.
{Hypothesis} is based around observations; proposed explanation for observed phenomena.
{Critical experiment} is an experiment that makes it possible to decisively determine whether a
particular hypothesis is correct.

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BIOL 1500
{Placebo} inactive substance used in controlled experiments to test the effectiveness of another
substance; the treatment group receives the substance being tested, the control group receives
the placebo
{Theory} is an explanatory hypothesis for natural phenomena that is exceptionally well
supported by the empirical data
{Placebo effect} the frequently observed, poorly understood phenomenon, in which people
respond favourably to any treatment, regardless of whether it was the treatment, or sugar pill
{Blind & double blind experimental design) blind design-in which the experimental subjects do
not know which treatment (if any) they are receiving. Double blind design-neither the subjects
nor the experimenter know which treatment (if any) they are receiving.
{Randomized} subjects are randomly assigned into experimental and control groups. In this
way, researchers and subjects have no influence on the composition of the control and
treatment groups
{Statistics} a set of analytical and mathematical tools designed to help researchers gain
understanding from the data they gather
{Positive correlation} when one variable increases, so does the other.
{Pseudoscience} individuals make scientific sounding claims that are not supported by
trustworthy methodical scientific studies
{Anecdotal observations} based on only one or a few observations, people conclude that there
is or is not a link between two things
The scientific method is an adaptable process that includes many different methods. It is not a
single pathway that is always rigidly followed from start to finish.
1. Make observations
Scientific study
begins with observations.
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