The Scientific Method and Innovations: Part 1


Practice your problem-solving skills by using the scientific method to determine if you can rely on data to reject or accept your hypothesis on whether lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of cancer.

Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organizing our curiosity.

—Tim Minchin, comedian and musician

Every day, everywhere incredible processes are shaping and affecting our world. A bundle of cells multiplies over and over again, forming the heart tissue of a growing fetus. A group of researchers studies a deadly virus, working toward a vaccine. A team seeks new methods to safely develop sustainable energy. 

Understanding science is more important than ever. Because while there is real, reputable research being conducted in every scientific field, there is also an endless stream of unreliable information that only looks like valid science flooding our newsfeeds. We have to reason our way through all these claims and figure out the best way to respond. That may mean making a thoughtful decision, changing our behavior, or doing more research.

In this course, you’ll learn about basic biology, public health, and environmental science, and you’ll discover scientific strategies and techniques that will help you strengthen three essential skills. They are:

  • Problem solving: Through the scientific method, you will learn how to communicate about discoveries of the past, solve real-world problems in the present, and analyze alternative approaches to solve problems in the future.
  • Results driven: Scientific discovery requires resilience and focus on achieving results—even in the face of obstacles and failure—all without compromising integrity or quality.
  • Innovation: Thinking like a scientist requires constant curiosity, creativity, a willingness to test new ideas, and a mindset that is open to unexpected perspectives.

Overview

This assessment allows you to practice your problem-solving skills by identifying and communicating the key parts of the scientific method. You will use the scientific method to determine if you can rely on data to reject or accept your hypothesis on whether lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of cancer. Once you understand the scientific method and how it helps scientists seek answers to important questions, you can apply it when answering questions and solving problems in your own life. Problem solving is a universal skill and one you will continue to refine as you progress throughout your career.

In this assessment, you will use scientific method to do an analysis of the data provided in the assessment template. Based on this assessment, you will prepare a pamphlet for your targeted readers in Assessment 2. You will use the feedback on your analysis in this assessment to prepare your pamphlet.

Preparation

Use the following scenario for this assessment:

You work as a research assistant at a primary care center, where your role is to ask patients about their lifestyle choices (that is, smoking, exercise, environmental exposures, et cetera). Based on this information, create a pamphlet to inform patients of the risks of their choices so that the patients can make informed decisions for themselves.

  1. Refer to the following:
    • Taylor, M. R., Simon, J., Dickey, J. L., Hogan, K. A., & Reece, J. B. (2020). Campbell biology concepts & connections (10th ed.). Pearson. Available in the courseroom via the VitalSource Bookshelf link.
      • Chapter 1, “Biology: The Scientific Study of Life,” Figure 1.4 on page 9.
      • Chapter 11, “How Genes Are Controlled,” pages 212–232.
  2. Review the data set in The Scientific Method and Innovations: Part 1 Assessment Template [DOCX] to do your analysis. You will enter your analysis into this template and submit it in this assessment.

Instructions

Keep in mind that these are the steps for using the scientific method to analyze the data. Follow these steps to complete this assessment:

  • Step 1: Explain the scientific method.
    • Identify the origins of this method and provide examples of its application to solve real-world problems.
    • Describe why this method ensures a sound analysis of data.
  • Step 2: Define the process or steps in the scientific method.
    • Describe the typical activities that would happen in that step or process.
    • Describe the objective of each step and the typical activities or tasks for that step.
  • Step 3: Apply the scientific method to determine if lifestyle choices can address the issues of the study.
    • Analyze the data given in the assessment template to see the relationship between lifestyle choices and the risk of cancer. What observations have you made about some of the lifestyle choices and cancer?
    • Evaluate the data to determine if lifestyle choices have any bearing on the risk of cancer, and how. Provide opinions and supporting examples.
  • Step 4: Articulate the conclusions reached in the study.
    • Make the connection between the data and how this leads to the conclusion. Include specific data to support your thoughts about the conclusion.
    • Define a hypothesis that is suggested by the data collected in the primary care center. What is your prediction based on the data collected?
    • Explain how you would use the scientific method to test your hypothesis or prediction.
    • Describe the results. Do you accept or reject your hypothesis? Explain your answer in detail.
  • Step 5: Describe the possible limitations of interpreting your conclusions.
    • Identify the possible limitations of the collected data. What kinds of things might be happening that the data aren’t showing?
    • Explain how the limitations of the data might cause a misinterpretation of the data.

Additional Requirements

Your submission should meet the following requirements:

  • Written communication: Write in complete sentences free from errors that detract from the overall message.
  • Font and font size: Arial, 12 point.
  • Citations: Include complete citations of your sources. Review Evidence and APA for more information on how to cite your sources.

Competencies Measured

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:

  • Competency 1: Apply the scientific method to examine the science behind key innovations.
    • Explain the scientific method.
    • Define the process or steps in the scientific method.
  • Competency 2: Analyze credible information to explain how science is currently solving real-world problems.
    • Apply the scientific method to determine if lifestyle choices can address the issues of the study.
    • Describe the possible limitations of interpreting the conclusions.
  • Competency 3: Analyze alternative solutions and approaches to unsolved scientific problems.
    • Articulate the conclusions reached in the study.
  • Competency 4: Address assessment purpose in a well-organized text, incorporating appropriate evidence and tone in grammatically sound sentences.
    • Write in a well-organized and concise manner that adheres to the rules of grammar, usage, and mechanics.

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