The Scientific Method. An Introduction to the Inquiry Process By Keith Carlson Dept. of Anthropology University of Arizona. Why does it rain?. Why is the sky blue?. How did people live in the past?. How old is the Earth?. How do scientists know what they know?. Answer….
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An Introduction to the Inquiry Process
By Keith Carlson
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Arizona
process scientists use to answer questions and solve problems.
The steps of the Scientific Method are:
1) Research Question:
The problem or issue you want to learn more about.
Testable Prediction that follows from your research question that can be tested and evaluated.
What will be your procedures for testing your hypothesis?
4) Data Collection:
Record observations regarding data related to the problem you are interested in.
What can you say about your hypothesis based on your observations? Is your hypothesis supported by your observations?
6) Sharing your conclusions
Scientists write reports and give presentations to inform others about their research!
From: Rubbish: The Archaeology of Garbage, by William Rathje and Cullen Murphy. The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 2001
First, what hypotheses do you have about what the garbologists would find in the typical American garbage and in Landfills?
The Garbage Project developed several hypotheses and questions based on questionnaires and other general knowledge….
How would you test the hypothesis?
Systematically excavate, or dig
… sort contents layer by layer
and bag by bag …
Rathje and Murphy
… and record observations about what
1) Landfills contain almost 40% newspapers between 15 and 40 years old!!!
2) Plastic bottles, soda cans, and fast food
packaging less than 1%!!!
and old fruit lasted over 15 years!
Do the observations support the hypotheses?
Landfills are not filling up with plastics, but with
paper and construction products. Items that we would expect to decompose do not always.
Recycling of paper products, in addition to plastics,
is not a major activity in modern society in comparison to the total amount of garbage!