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GENERAL BIOLOGY

Biological method steps and definition

What is scientific method in biology

What is a biological method?

The scientific method, in which biological problems are solved, is called the biological method. Biologist takes the following steps to solve the biological problem.

A biological problem is a question related to living organisms that is either asked by some one or comes in biologist’s mind by himself. e.g. What is the cause of malaria?

  1. Recognition of biological problem
  2. Observations
  3. Hypothesis formulation
  4. Deductions
  5. Experimentation
  6. Summarization of results (create tables, graphics etc)
  7. Reporting the results

 

  1. Recognition of biological problem

First step of biological method is identification of biological problem. A biological problem is a question about living organisms which is asked by someone or comes in biologist’s mind.

  1. Observations

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

Types of observation:

  • Qualitative observations: Observations which are not recorded in terms of numbers are called qualitative observations. e.g. The freezing point of water is colder than boiling point.
  • Quantitative observations: Observations which are recorded in terms of numbers are called quantitative observations. e.g. The freezing point of water is 0C0  and boiling point is 100C0.
  1. Formulation of Hypotheses

Biologist organizes observations into data form and makes a statement that may be the answer of the biological problem. This tentative explanation of observations is called a hypothesis. Biologists use reasoning to formulate a hypothesis.

Characteristics of hypothesis:

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

Deductions are the logical consequences (results) of hypotheses. Generally in biological method, if a particular hypothesis is true then one should expect (deduction) a certain result. This involves the use of “if-then” logic.

  1. Experimentation

Biologist performs experiments to see if hypotheses are true or not. The deductions are also tested.  The incorrect hypotheses are rejected and the correct one is accepted.

  1. Summarization of results

Biologist gathers data from experiments. Data for each of the group is averaged and compared statistically.

 

  1. Reporting the results

Biologists publish their findings in scientific journals and books, in talks at national and international meetings and in seminars at colleges and universities. Publishing of results allows other people to verify the results.

Theory, Law or Principle

Theory: When a hypothesis is not falsified, it increases biologists’ confidence in hypothesis. The hypotheses that stand the test of time (often tested and never rejected), are called theories. A theory is supported by a great deal of evidence.  Productive theory keeps on suggesting new hypotheses and so testing goes on.

Law or Principle: If a theory survives after a doubtful approach and continues to be supported by experimental evidence, it becomes a law or principle. A scientific law is a uniform or constant fact of nature. It is an irrefutable theory. e.g. Hardy-Weinberg law and Mendel’s laws of inheritance.

 

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