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Leaving Cert Biology Revision: Scientific Method

Scientific Method


The scientific method is a systematic approach scientists used to investigate phenomena, acquire new knowledge, and refine existing theories.




It involves several steps:

1. Observation


Scientists observe natural phenomena or gather data through experiments.



2. Question Formulation


Scientists formulate questions, or hypotheses to explain the observed phenomena based on observations.





3. Hypothesis Testing


Scientists design experiments to test their hypotheses. These experiments must be repeatable and controlled to

ensure reliability.



4. Data Collection


During experiments, scientists collect data and observations.




5. Analysis


Scientists analyze the collected data to conclude. They may use statistical methods to determine the significance of their results.




6. Communication


Scientists communicate their findings through publications, presentations, and discussions with peers, allowing others to replicate their experiments and verify their results.




Limitations in Scientific Method


Subjectivity


Biases, personal opinions, or preconceived notions of researchers may influence the scientific method.


Incomplete Knowledge


Scientific understanding is always evolving, and discoveries may challenge or revise existing theories.


Ethical Considerations


Some experiments may raise ethical concerns, such as those involving human subjects or animals.


Resource Constraints


Limitations in funding, equipment, or time may restrict the scope or feasibility of scientific investigations.


Complexity of Nature


Natural phenomena can be complex and multifaceted, making it difficult to isolate variables or predict outcomes accurately.



Principles of Experimentation


Controlled Variables


Experiments should control all variables except the one being tested to ensure that any observed effects are because of the manipulated variable.


Replication


Experiments should be repeatable by other researchers to verify the results and ensure their reliability.


Randomization


Random assignment of subjects or samples helps minimize bias and ensures that the experimental and control groups are comparable.


Sample Size


Larger sample sizes increase the reliability and generalizability of experimental results by reducing the impact of random variation.


Blinding


Blinding techniques, such as single-blind or double-blind studies, prevent bias by concealing information about the experimental conditions from participants or researchers.


Peer Review


Before publication, scientific findings undergo peer review by experts in the field to evaluate their validity, reliability, and significance.

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