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The Physical World 2: Scientific Method: Questions


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List four ways that scientists typically communicate with each other about their research.
1. scientific journals
2. professional presentations
3. informal gatherings
4. personal communications
Why do scientists prefer quantitative data?
Quantitative information is much less subject to personal bias.
Which has more evidence to support it, a hypothesis or a theory?
A theory has more evidence because it has been subjected to the scientific method. A hypothesis is an educated guess that must hold up under future experimentation.
List the six foundational steps involved in the scientific (experimental) method.
1. problem
2. hypothesis
3. controlled experiment
4. analysis
5. conclusion
6. verification
Give the definition of "hypothesis."
A hypothesis is an educated guess intended to explain a problem.
Give two reasons why a scientist should verify data before making a conclusion.
1. instruments used may have been imprecise
2. calulations may not be accurate
Why might different scientists follow different experimental methods?
Method depends not only on the problem being investigated, but also on the individual style of the researcher. Not all problems can be solved using the same techniques, or even the same sequence of the scientific method.
Name three things a scientist can do when another scientist finds a possible mistake in his work.
1. perform other experiments to verify his results
2. reconsider how he communicated the results
3. revise the original hypothesis to better account for the data
Good conclusions should include what four characteristics?
1. must relate to the original hypothesis
2. must agree with the data gathered from the experiment
3. will predict what would happen in similar circumstances
4. should be kept as simple as possible
Which is the more firmly established concept, a theory or a law? Why?
True scientific theories are somewhat verified ideas that tie together a number of scientific laws which describe fundamental phenomena of nature. Laws have become well established over the years through numerous observations, and they are often described using mathematical equations.
How does stating the problem assist a scientific investigation?
Stating the problem helps to determine the appropriate actions when using scientific methodology.
Why is the conclusion to a scientific investigation rarely the end of the inquiry?
The conclusion of a scientific investigation often produces new questions, requires the re-investigation of previously accepted theories, and requires verification of the findings of the inquiry.
What is the key element that makes an experiment a controlled experiment?
A controlled experiment includes a variable that can be changed at will.
What type of data can be recorded with numbers or measurements?
Data that result from measurement or enumeration are "quantitative" data.
In an experiment, what is the factor which differs from one treatment group to the next?
The factor that changes is called the "variable."
List five limitations of science.
1. Science must deal with observable, physical phenomena.
2. Science cannot establish fundamental truth.
3. Science is limited by the persons who practice it.
4. Science cannot prove a universal statement.
5. Science cannot make value judgments.
Explain the difference between a theory and a law.
A law is a firmly established observation that usually explains many phenomena and holds true under a well-known set of conditions. A theory is just one of several options that could possibly explain a phenomenon and has been tested somewhat.
What type of data is not recorded in measurable units?
Data that cannot be measured or enumerated are "qualitative data."
Which step of the scientific method often involves the use of graphs and charts?
Charts and graphs permit easier "analysis of the data."

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