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What is Science? The Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry The Nature of Science Science is based on observations and inferences about the natural world (empirical evidence). Science is a creative human endeavor that is socially embedded.

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what is science
What is Science?
  • The Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry
the nature of science
The Nature of Science
  • Science is based on observations and inferences about the natural world (empirical evidence).
  • Science is a creative human endeavor that is socially embedded.
  • Scientific knowledge is always tentative (subject to change with new knowledge.
  • Laws and theories are the products of science.
hypotheses
Hypotheses
  • An hypothesis is a statement that predicts the outcome of an experiment.
  • An hypothesis may be stated as a null hypothesis; that is, the hypothesis may predict no change.
  • Hypotheses are tested by scientific inquiry.
  • Tested hypotheses help build scientific knowledge.
scientific laws
Scientific Laws
  • A scientific law is a description of a natural phenomenon.
  • Laws are based on empirical evidence.
  • Examples:
    • Mendel’s laws of inheritance.
    • The Hardy-Weinberg Law of population genetics.
  • Laws may change with new knowledge.
scientific theories
Scientific Theories
  • A scientific theory is an explanation of a natural phenomenon.
  • Theories are based on empirical evidence.
  • Examples:
    • The theory of natural selection.
    • Cell theory.
  • Theories may change with new knowledge
scientific inquiry
Scientific Inquiry
  • Scientific inquiry is the process that results in building scientific knowledge.
  • There are three main types of inquiry (scientific studies):
    • Descriptive
    • Correlational
    • Experimental
descriptive studies
Descriptive Studies
  • Descriptive studies describe the object of study in detail.
  • Characteristic of young sciences.
  • Some sciences, such as Astronomy and Taxonomy, rely almost entirely on descriptive studies.
correlational studies
Correlational Studies
  • Correlational studies describe two events that occur at the same time, and look for a relationship between the two.
  • Many health studies are correlational: they use large databases of health information, and try to answer questions when an experiment would be unethical.
  • However, a correlation does not prove a cause.
experimental studies
Experimental Studies
  • Experimental studies involve setting up control and experimental groups in order to the effects of one variable on another.
  • Experiments can be used to determine cause.
  • Experiments are used to test hypotheses (not to “prove” them).
who is a scientist12
Who is a scientist?

Microbiologists

who is a scientist16
Who is a scientist?

Molecular

Biologists