Whether Pure or Applied, good Science relies heavily on the ability to:
Design valid experiments and make good observations
Inquiry/Experimentation Making Observations
Dictionaries describe science as the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation (scientific method), and theoretical explanation of phenomena.
This is a good description for fields like chemistry and physics where specific experiments can be run but what about other fields like archaeology, or geology where it is not so straightforward? Are these examples of science?
Science – A way of learning about the natural world through observations and logical reasoning, and allows for growth and change as new ideas are explored.
Though simple, this definition is all encompassing
Within this we can separate out 2 distinct forms of science:
Pure Science Applied Science
Pure Science – Pure science is an aspect of the field that deals directly with research simply for the sake of research.
Experiments are developed and hypothesis’ are tested with the sole purpose of finding out what happens. It is the search for new information or the discovery of a new fact.
Motivated by curiosity
Can basically be thought of as the “search for new information”
Applied Science (technology) – This is the aspect that involves actually using science, what was discovered using pure science, to improve the technology around us and to improve and ease everyday life.
A large part of being a good scientist is observation. When we observe there are two types of observations that we can make:
Qualitative – These observations consist only of words. Describe things such as the color, shape, or odor of an object.
Practice Making Qualitative Observations
Quantitative – These observations use actual numbers. They describe aspects of an object that can be measured. Examples would be mass, length, speed, etc.
Practice Making Qualitative Observations
Make 3 Qualitative Observations 2. The reactants are red and yellow 1. The product is blue 3. A gas was produced during the reaction Click for answer Click for answer Click for answer
Make 3 Quantitative Observations 2. The product has a mass of 112 g 1. There are 94 mL of reactant 3. 12 mL of reactants were changed into a gas Click for answer Click for answer Click for answer
Scientific Inquiry The practice of pure science is often referred to as scientific inquiry In scientific inquiry, an unknown question is presented, an idea (hypothesis) is suggested as a solution, the possible solution is tested (experimentation) , and then a conclusion is drawn. This process of inquiry is best described through what is known as the scientific method
The scientific method consists of eight (8) steps:
State the question (what am I trying to find out?)
Collect information (what do we already know?)
Form a hypothesis (what do you think will happen?)
Test your hypothesis (perform the experiment)
Observe your results (ongoing during the experiment)
Record the data (ongoing during the experiment)
Analyze the data
Form a conclusion (either supporting or disproving your hypothesis)
Experimentation Other than forming a hypothesis , the most important part of the scientific method is the experiment. An experiment is an organized procedure for testing a hypothesis In order for an experiment to be scientifically valid, it must have two important parts: 1) A valid experimental setup 2) Valid experimental subjects
Valid Experimental Subjects
In any experiment, you also must have something to compare the results with, therefore you must have two different types of experimental subjects:
Test Group – this is the subject where you change one variable to see what effect it will have
Control Group – this is used as a standard for comparison. In the control group, no variables get changed
Valid Experimental Setup
In any good experiment, you need to be very careful of what you are testing and what you are doing to affect your results. Therefore, you must be careful to only have:
Independent (manipulated) variable – what factor in an experiment that you change. There can only be ONE independent variable in any experiment.
Dependent (responding) variable – what factor in an experiment you are measuring the change as a result of changing the independent variable. The amount of change in the dependent variable is your “results”
Constants – all of the other factors in the experiment which must remain unchanged
A student wants to see how watering a plant with salt water affects its growth. He has twenty plants. The first five he waters with regular water, the second five he uses water with 5 tablespoons of salt, the third five he uses water with 10 tablespoons of salt, and the last 5 he uses water with 15 tablespoons of salt. The first group of plants grows to an average height of 14 inches, the second group to an average height of 11 inches, the third to an average height of 8 inches and the last group to an average height of 4 inches.
Which group is the control group? The test groups?
What is the independent variable? The dependent variable?
What are some constants involved in this experiment?
Control – Plants with regular water; Test – Plants with salt water Click for Answer Click for Answer Click for Answer IV – amount of salt in water; DV – height that plants grow Type of plant, amount of sunlight, amount of water, type of dirt, pots
Important to remember :
The scientific method is a tool to help scientists solve problems. It is not set in stone and not every step is always used and its not always followed in that exact order. It is mainly a guideline.
Experimentation usually goes more like this
What is the difference between pure and applied Science?
Which category do you think most Science done today falls into? Why?
Click for Answer Pure science is done for its own sake, because the scientist wants to know more about the world. Applied Science is done in order to improve life; to make things easier.
What are the key components of a valid experiment?
A single independent variable
A measurable dependent variable
All other variables kept constant
Click for answer
Identify the following as qualitative or quantitative observations
The car moved fast
The car was traveling 50 mph
The flowers were blue
There were 5 flowers
The ball had a mass of 10 kg
Qualitative Quantitative Qualitative Quantitative Quantitative Remember to write out 2-5 questions about the notes for class!!