Have you ever had a problem that you needed to solve, or a question that you needed to answer? Scientists have this dilemma all the time and use the scientific method to solve problems and answer questions. The scientific method was developed to standardize scientific research. This clearly defined process to evaluate data and propose new ideas ensures that research has been properly conducted and analyzed. Further, the scientific method allows for reproduction of the experiment by other researchers and should lead to the same results every time.
For this week’s Assignment, you will be asked to apply the scientific method related to an observation you can make in your own life.
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To prepare for this Assignment:
Review your course text, paying particular attention to content related to the scientific method and who you can trust to help you choose foods wisely.
Also review the Institute for Inquiry website in this week’s Learning Resources.
- Consider a case in your own life where you could use the scientific method, or elements of the scientific method, to solve a problem. Think about observations you make on a daily basis that are related to nutrition. This may include how many alcohol commercials play during sporting events on the television, how many coworkers bring sack lunches for lunch versus take-out or frozen lunches, or the number of sugary cereal commercials that play during cartoons on Saturday mornings, for example.
- Choose an observation related to nutrition that you would like to investigate by using the scientific method.
- From your observation, propose a hypothesis. For example, “More alcohol commercials play during a basketball game on the television than during a made-for-TV romantic drama.”
- After you have determined your hypothesis, observe and collect data that will help you support or disprove your hypothesis. (For the example hypothesis, this would include watching a basketball game and recording the number of alcohol commercials played during that game and then watching a made-for-TV romantic drama and recording the number of alcohol commercials that play during that program.)
- The Assignment (2 pages):
- Write a 2-page, double-spaced paper in which you apply the scientific method to observation and data analysis and test your hypothesis based on your observations. Please make sure that your paper contains all of the following headers:
Abstract: This is a brief, 150-word summary of the entire paper, including the results you found. This does not need to contain citations.
Introduction: The introduction is a statement of why you decided to conduct your research study and what information it has the potential to contribute to the scientific world. Be sure to include any background information important for the reader to understand your study. Also, be sure to identify clearly your hypothesis statement. (1–2 paragraphs)
Methods and Materials: Describe the process you went through to collect your data in detail, including minor elements that may be relevant, like time or day, or anything important for the reader to understand your data collection methods. (1–2 paragraphs)
- Results and Conclusion: Provide the results of your data, either in tabular form or written out as part of the essay. Also, be sure to interpret your results clearly and provide your reasoning on whether you can or cannot support your original hypothesis. Remember, even results that do not support your original hypothesis are a good contribution to science! (1–2 paragraphs)
Remember to include citations, especially in your Introduction and Conclusion. It is important to support your ideas by citing relevant research or scientific concepts.