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  • Mark Give Handout of Tenets and discuss each one. Tentative – not just getting more information, but that old information is reshaped and replaced by new information; old theories are discarded for new ones. Empirical – at least somewhat; my “tether” to reality that grounds science as science. Subjective – a priori knowledge; theory-laden nature Creative – not just in the planning of the experiment, but also in the interpretation of the data and the CREATING of a new explanation (theory) Social and Cultural – not just working with other researchers, but that the culture/society in which the researcher works influences her approach/interpretation/scope/direction/etc. Observations and Inferences – One we see one we don’t (or at least not yet…) Laws and Theories – no hierarchical views… laws are descriptive statements while theories are explanatory statements {inferred} (both bigger than hypotheses)


  • 1. Scientific Investigations
  • 2. Objectives
    • Review the three types of investigations
  • 3. Parts of an experiment
    • Research question/Purpose
    • Hypothesis
    • Procedure
      • Control group
      • Experimental group
      • Independent variable
      • Dependent variable
    • Observations
    • Data
    • Analysis/Conclusion
  • 4. Types of Investigations
    • Descriptive
    • Comparative
    • Experimental
  • 5. Descriptive Investigations
    • Observations made about an organism, substance, reaction, or biological process
    • Collect quantitative and/or qualitative data
  • 6. Conducting a Descriptive Lab
    • Include the following parts of an investigation:
      • Research Question
      • Procedure, Data, Analysis
  • 7. Examples of Descriptive Labs
    • How many mm 3 per week does mold grow on a piece of bread?
    • What is the rate of growth of a new corn seedling?
  • 8. Comparative Labs
    • Comparing the effect of a variable on two or more groups
    • Includes the all the parts of an experiment except the control group
  • 9. Examples of Comparative Labs
    • Does mold grow faster on bread slices kept in shoebox versus those kept in sunlight?
    • Do plants grow better under UV light or sunlight?
  • 10. Experimental Labs
    • Determines how a variable affects a group
    • Includes all parts of an experiment
  • 11. Examples of Experimental Labs
    • How does adding water to the bread affect the rate of mold growth?
    • Does adding eggshells to the soil increase the rate of growth in tomato plants?
  • 12. Tenets of NOS
    • Tentative
    • Empirical
    • Subjective
    • Creative
    • Socially & Culturally Embedded
    • Observations & Inferences
    • Theories & Laws
  • 13. Tentative Scientific knowledge changes in two ways; it grows as new knowledge is discovered and improves as old knowledge is revised corrected. While scientific knowledge is tentative, there is also much reliability in scientific knowledge because of its empirical basis. Ray Drenner - Hg Toxicity in Aquatic Systems
  • 14. Empirical Scientific knowledge is based on observations of the natural world. Although all scientific knowledge is based upon empirical evidence, much scientific knowledge (inferences & theories) lacks hard data directly accessible to the senses. Archaeopteryx Pangaea
  • 15. Subjectivity Scientists’ theoretical commitments and expectations influence their work. Scientists’ observations acquire meaning in reference to questions or problems. These questions or problems, in turn, are derived from certain theoretical perspectives (theory-laden). H. Pylori Drs. Barry Marshall & Robin Warren
  • 16. Creative Scientific knowledge involves human imagination and creativity. Science involves the invention of explanations and this requires a great deal of creativity by scientists. Dr. Bonnie Bassler
  • 17. Social and Cultural Science is practiced in the context of a larger culture and scientists are the product of that culture. Science is affected by the various elements of the culture in which it is embedded. These elements include social fabric, power structures, politics, socioeconomic factors, philosophy, and religion. Stem Cell Research & HPV Vaccine
  • 18. Observations and Inferences Observations are descriptive statements about natural phenomena that are “directly” accessible to the senses. By contrast, inferences are statements about phenomena that are not “directly” accessible to the senses. Charles Darwin And “his” finches
  • 19. Theories and Laws Theories and laws are different kinds of knowledge; one can not develop or be transformed into the other. Laws are statements or descriptions of the relationships among observable phenomena (the “what”). Theories, by contrast, are inferred explanations for observable phenomena (the “how”).