The scientific method is based on a critical thinking process. I am just going to give a brief overview so you get an idea of the process. It is quite complex and best left to scientists who are trained in this.
Scientific Papers are created to explain the process they went through in doing the study. There are a few main parts to a paper:
- Abstract is a summary of the study.
- Introduction reviews what science already knows about the topic
- Materials & Methods is the outline of how the study was conducted
- Results describe the sample, and present the data collected from the sample
- Discussion reviews the results in the context of other relevant scientific literature and the hypotheses being tested by the study.
A variable is any factor that can be changed or controlled or measured in a scientific experiment.
There are different types of variables. The independent variable is changing one thing at a time like temperature, frequency in an experiment. The dependent variable is the thing you want to measure. It is dependent on the independent variable. The Controlled Variable is the one thing that does not vary—it is controlled. Extraneous variables are things that may not be taken into account at the beginning of an experiment or study. When a variable is studied, it is measured and recorded.
he purpose of a research question is to test a hypothesis.
The actual test begins by considering two hypotheses. They are called the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis. These hypotheses contain opposing viewpoints.
H0: The null hypothesis: It is a statement of no difference between the variables—they are not related. This can often be considered the status quo and as a result if you cannot accept the null it requires some action.
Ha: The alternative hypothesis: It is a claim about the population that is contradictory to H0 and what we conclude when we reject H0. This is usually what the researcher is trying to prove.
Since the null and alternative hypotheses are contradictory, you must examine evidence to decide if you have enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis or not. The evidence is in the form of sample data.
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Research design: Reliability and validity
Reliability and validity are concepts used to evaluate the quality of research. They indicate how well a method, technique or test measures something.
Reliability is about the consistency or repeatability of a measure, and validity is about the accuracy of a measure. If the same result can be consistently achieved by using the same methods under the same circumstances, the measurement is considered reliable. If research has high validity, that means it produces results that correspond to real properties, characteristics, and variations in the physical or social world. High reliability is one indicator that a measurement is valid. If a method is not reliable, it probably isn’t valid.
There is much more to the scientific research methods.
So although case studies may contain bias, lack internal validity, and are not generalizable, they are extremely powerful for generating initial predictions which can be tested systematically using other available research designs.
Part 1: Science Literacy
Part 2: Science vs Pseudoscience
Part 3: Critical Thinking
Part 4: What gets in the way of critical thinking?
Part 5: Logical Fallacies
Part 6: Scientific Method
Part 7: The Art of Massage