was team teaching; now FACTS?

David W. Kramer kramer.8 at OSU.EDU
Wed Jul 14 15:04:48 EST 1999

Dave Williams wrote:

>And while we're at it, what about descriptive science? Don't students need to
>understand that the quest for pattern, classification, organization, and law
>are valid research objectives? Science is not strictly experimental. When and
>how do we incorporate this vital aspect of biology into the "process" of

You've made many excellent points in the part of your message I deleted (no
offense!).  I just wanted to say, in response to your question above, that
we get into this predicament because many textbooks and lecturers, when
outlining the "scientific method" (ignore, for now, the argument that there
is no such thing as the scientific method) go from "hypothesis" to
"experiment."  It makes much more sense to go from "hypothesis" to "data
gathering" with two subsets:  "by experiment" and "by further observation"
(or "detailed observation").  Sometimes we gather data by experimental
methods and sometimes by making numerous, painstaking observations, in the
field or lab or greenhouse, of plants (or animals or members of the other
Kingdoms).  We are looking for patterns, etc. as you so aptly stated.

You are right.  I'm only suggesting that we make a slight change in the way
we present the scientific method so that all of science process is
included.  By the way, "data gathering" should be called "data gathering
and analysis" or there should be a next category called "data analysis"
inserted before "conclusion."  Students need to realize that we rarely
understand what has happened from looking at the raw data.  The proper
analysis of the data is critical to drawing a correct conclusion and
explains why the training of a biologist requires a healthy dose of

David W. Kramer, Ph.D.
Asst. Prof. of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906-1547
Phone:  (419) 755-4344      FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at osu.edu

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