Unit 2.4 Understanding of scientific methods, principles, criteria and their application

Unit 2.4 Understanding of scientific methods, principles, criteria and their application

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UNIT 2: SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
Understanding of scientific methods,
principles, criteria and their application
The nature and use of scientific method and investigation
Scientific method involves a series of logical and rational steps that allow scientists to organise
their thoughts, to test them and to reach conclusions. Definitions of what constitutes 'scientific
method' may vary, but it is likely that the key stages will include the following:
Everyone must have a starting point based on the area of science involved and the
particular interest of the scientist concerned. This will be narrowed down so that
a question in the relevant area of science can be defined. Preliminary research
will then take place using whatever sources are available, ideally using as many
as possible.
Scientists, or a group of scientists, need to formulate a logical hypothesis that can
be tested using experimental methods -- and here their skill, experience or
innovative thinking may be a key factor in helping to shape scientific advance.
The hypothesis is a way of setting out what the outcome of an experiment might
be, perhaps expressed in a single sentence that might be a question.
Scientists must approach and carry out scientific tasks in an objective manner to
reduce the likelihood of bias in the methods, thinking or results. The key principle
is that scientific knowledge should be valuefree. Scientists may have a preference
for a particular outcome and must seek to ensure that the preference does not bias
their interpretation.
Scientists design experimental studies to test hypotheses. The experiment is
central to scientific method, and scientists may seek to perform as many different
experiments on their subject as possible.
Researchers collect data through observation and experimentation. This will be
done in a systematic and careful manner, measuring relevant quantities where appropriate.
Measurements might be undertaken in a controlled setting, perhaps in a laboratory, with
measurements properly tabulated and recorded specialised scientific equipment might be
used. The data collected will need to be interpreted.
The steps are repeated in order to predict future results from evidence and to
reach a conclusion that may support or reject the original hypothesis. This might
be done to test the prediction further and to see how far the hypothesis is matched
by results, bearing in mind that time and other resources will inevitably be
limited.

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The findings are published so that data and methodology can be shared with, and
scrutinised by, other members of the scientific community with similar interests.
This allows peer review to take place, which gives other scientists an opportunity
to identify research flaws or mistakes in the findings.
Scientists accept that scientific research is an ongoing process. They constantly seek
refinement and perhaps allow for more accurate and comprehensive models to be
formulated.…read more

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They are critical of the lack of clinical data to support the homeopathic case.
Conventional medicines are subjected to rigorous safety trials, often referred to as
controlled clinical trials, before they are licensed and the results of the trials are
published and subjected to critical scrutiny. Homeopathy cannot be explained
precisely.
Doubt is expressed over the qualifications of some of those involved in homeopathic
medicine, and the possibilities of fraud are often raised.…read more

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Controlled clinical trials (CCTs) cannot guarantee the safety of drugs that are being tested. A
CCT may not show how individual patients might react to a particular drug or course of
treatment.
Homeopathy is more likely to be beneficial to patients emotionally as well as physically.…read more

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The cells enable the system to handle a great many calls at once because each cell
uses the same set of frequencies as neighbouring cells.
The mast receives the signals and passes them to an exchange. Calls made to a cellphone
on a different network or to a landline have to be routed in to the main telephone network.…read more

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Not many people realised the potential of mobile phones. The early ones were not always reliable
and were expensive, cumbersome and heavy. Yet technology developed quickly and what was
once a curiosity has now become almost indispensable.
In 20 years, mobile phones have gone from luxury to necessity and their spread has been nothing
short of remarkable. It has brought convenience and advantages to the world, making
communication between people easier and faster. However, the disadvantages associated with the
fastgrowing technology cannot be ignored.…read more

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Sometimes there is no signal and no service for cellphones. Cells are connected by masts or
towers that receive and send signals. As people travel, the system automatically transfers the
phone from one cell to another, but in some more remote areas the distance between the
towers is too great to maintain the contact.
The base station sends the call, via a digital telephone exchange, to the main telephone
network.…read more

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Whatever the disadvantages, the growth of the mobile phone market in the last 10 years, as
phones have become more versatile, has been phenomenal. The total number of cell phones in the
UK now exceeds the size of the population. Love them or hate them, it is impossible to envisage life
without mobile phones. Once considered a luxury item, they are now one of the necessities of
modern communication, although the possible longterm health risks of using mobile phones have
yet to be charted.…read more

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