Scientific Method

Q: What is biological method of study?

Answer: Science is the systemized knowledge derived from observation and experiments carried out to determine the principle about how nature operates.


            The scientific method, in which biological problems are solved, is termed as biological method. It comprises the steps a biologist adopt in order to solve a biological problem.

Q: what is importance of biological method?

Ans: Questions about living things has provided problems that man has investigated to aid his on survival and to satisfy his desire to know. The biological method has played a key role in scientific research for almost 500 years. From Galileo’s experiment in 1590s to current research, the biological method has contributed to the

  • creation of vaccines
  1. advancement in medicine and technology
  • ensuring quality of data for public use

the increase in world populating coupled with increase in the incidence of new diseases and mutation in the existing disease strains, destruction of our ecological resources, and change in global climate, indicate that biological method is vital for future populations.

Q: Describe the steps involved in solving a problem through biological method?

Ans: To solve a biological problem, biologist takes following steps.

  1. Recognition of biological problem
  2. Observations
  3. Hypothesis formulation
  4. Deductions
  5. Experimentation
  6. Summarization of results
  7. Reporting the results
  8. Recognition of the biological problem

Biologists go for adopting biological method when they encounter some biological problem. A biological problem is a question related to living organism that is either asked by some or comes in biologists mind by himself.

Question: Where do the flies at the butcher shop really come from? Does rotting meat turn into or produce the flies?

  • Observations

As a first step in solving a biological problem, the biologist recall his/her previous observations r make new one.

Observations are made with five senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

Observation: flies were observed around the carcasses at the butcher shops.

Kinds of observations:

  1. Qualitative Observations: are considered less accurate than quantitative because qualitative observations are variable and non measureable and cannot be recorded in numbers

For example:   Freezing point of water in colder than boiling point

                        One liter of water is heavier than one liter of ethanol

  • Quantitative Observations: are considered more accurate than qualitative ones because quantitative observations are invariable and measureable and can be recorded in terms of numbers.

For example:   Freezing point of water 00C and boiling point is 1000C

The mass of one liter water is 1000 gram while mass of one liter ethanol is 789gram

Sources of observations

            Observations also include reading and studying what others have done n the past because scientific knowledge is ever growing.

** Darwin not only observed and took notes during his voyage, but also read the works of other naturalists.

3 – Formulation of Hypotheses:

Biologist organizes his /her and others work into data form and construct a statement that may prove to be the answer of biological problem under study. This tentative explanation of the observation is called hypotheses.

Hypothesis: Rotten meat does not turn into flies. Only flies can make more flies.

** Characteristics of good hypotheses:

  • It should be a general statement
  • It should be tentative idea
  • It should be agree with available observations
  • Should kept simple as possible
  • It should be testable and falsifiable

Reasoning: a great deal of creative thinking is necessary for the construction of hypotheses. Biologists use reasoning to formulate a hypothesis.

  • Inductive reasoning goes from a set of specific observations to general conclusions: I observed cells in x, y, and z organisms, therefore all animals have cells.
  • Deductive reasoning flows from general to specific: if all organisms have cells and humans are organisms, then humans should have cells. This is a prediction about a specific case based on the general premises

4 – Deduction:

The biologists draw deductions from hypotheses

Deductions are the logical consequences of a hypothesis, these drawn by using inductive or deductive reasoning.

Deductions involve the “if-then logic.

Biologists cannot usually check every situation where a hypothesis might apply. Let us consider a hypotheses “ all plant cell have nucleus” biologist do not check every plant for this instead biologist will generate reasoning.

“  If I eaxamine from a blade of grass , the each one will have a nucleus.

Deduction: If meat cannot turn into flies, rotting meat in a sealed (fly-proof) container should not produce flies or maggots.

5 – Experimentation:

            The most basic step of biological method is that the biologist perform experiment to see if the hypothesis are true. Deductions that are drawn from testing are subjected to rigorous testing .

This stage will prove that hypotheses is correct or incorrect among many hypotheses.  The incorrect hypotheses are rejected and which prove consistent through experimentation are accepted.
Methods of experimentations:

The scientist must contrast an experimental group with a control group; the two groups are treated exactly alike except for the one variable being tested

Testing: Wide-mouth jars each containing a piece of meat were subjected to several variations of “openness” while all other variables were kept the same. 
control group — These jars of meat were set out without lids so the meat would be exposed to whatever it might be in the butcher shop.
experimental group(s) — One group of jars were sealed with lids, and another group of jars had gauze placed over them.

6 – Summarization of results:

The biologist gathers actual quantitative data from the experiments. Data for each of the group is then averaged, and compared statistically. To draw conclusions, the biologist also uses statistical analysis.

7 – Reporting the results:

            Biologists publish their findings in scientific journals and books, in talks at the national and international meetings and in seminars at colleges and universities. Publishing of results is essential part of the scientific method as it allows people to verify the results or apply the knowledge to solve other problems.

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