Branding/Logomark minus Citation Combined Shape Icon/Bookmark-empty Icon/Copy Icon/Collection Icon/Close Copy 7 no author result Created with Sketch. Icon/Back Created with Sketch. Match!

How Many Scientific Methods Exist

Published on Aug 1, 2010in American Biology Teacher 0.28
· DOI :10.1525/abt.2010.72.6.3
Anton E. Lawson41
Estimated H-index: 41
(ASU: Arizona State University)
Cite
Abstract
Bonner (2005) argued for the existence of two scientific methods, which he referred to as "method A" and "method B." He described method A as the traditional approach, in which hypotheses guide the generation of predictions and the design of experiments to test them; hypotheses are supported or contradicted by comparing predicted results with observed results. In method B, hypotheses are generated only after collecting experimental data and serve to explain the data. In Bonner's view, recognizing that at least two scientific methods exist is relevant to teachers because many students lack the background knowledge needed to generate interesting hypotheses to test--via method A. However, students can ask questions that can be answered through experimentation--via method B. Thus, pedagogical progress can still be made. * Marshall Nirenberg's Research Method In support of the existence and usefulness of method B, Bonner (2005) cited the Nobel Prizewinning research that Marshall Nirenberg conducted in the early 1960s. According to Bonner, Nirenberg's research followed method B and asked this descriptive question: "What amino acid does UUU code for?" At that time, biologists thought that the DNA code consisted of four letters (adenine--A, guanine--G, cytocine--C, and thymine--T). They also thought that the DNA code was first translated into an RNA code, also with four letters, but with uracil--U substituting for thymine--T. Hence, an RNA code consisting of combinations of A's, G's, C's, and U's somehow coded for the production of proteins by somehow stringing the 20 or so amino acids together. According to Bonner's interpretation of Nirenberg's research, there were 20 possible answers to his descriptive question (e.g., UUU codes for valine, UUU codes for serine, UUU codes for phenylalanine, and so on). In Bonner's view, Nirenberg harbored no hypotheses and advanced no predictions about which amino acid would be produced. Thus, the particular answer to his question was theoretically uninteresting. Nirenberg simply wanted to know which of the 20 amino acids UUU coded for. In other words, the fact that it turned out to be phenylalanine was just the way it turned out and was no more or less important than UUU coding for valine, serine, or any of the other possibilities. Given Bonner's take on Nirenberg's research, it is perhaps surprising to learn how others at the time responded when they learned of Nirenberg's result (as initially recounted in Lawson, 2010). For example, consider this response by Francis Crick, contained in a paper published in Nature (Crick et al., 1961): At the recent Biochemical Congress in Moscow, the audience of Symposium I was startled by the announcement of Nirenberg that he and Matthaei had produced polyphenylalanine (that is a polypeptide all the residues of which are phenylalanine) by adding polyuridic acid (that is, an RNA the bases of which are all uracil) to a cell-free system which can synthesize proteins. (p. 1232) One has to wonder why the audience was "startled" by learning that a string of U's codes for phenylalanine and not for, say, valine or serine. Perhaps there is more to the story than Bonner is acknowledging. Also consider Crick's comment in a letter to Nirenberg dated 4 January 1962: The English papers have made rather a fuss about our Nature paper, which was published on Saturday, but as far as I have stressed that it is your discovery which was the real break-through. Crick's sentiment that Nirenberg's research represented a breakthrough was echoed in two other letters to Nirenberg (all the letters quoted here are online at http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/). One letter, from the famous French researcher Francois Jacob, dated 20 December 1961, had this to say: "Many thanks for your two manuscripts. It is a wonderful story. All my congratulations. …
  • References (8)
  • Citations (2)
Cite
References8
Newest
Published on Jan 1, 2009in Science Education 2.90
Anton E. Lawson41
Estimated H-index: 41
(ASU: Arizona State University)
Helping students better understand how scientists reason and argue to draw scientific conclusions has long been viewed as a critical component of scientific literacy, thus remains a central goal of science instruction. However, differences of opinion persist regarding the nature of scientific reasoning, argumentation, and discovery. Accordingly, the primary goal of this paper is to employ the inferences of abduction, retroduction, deduction, and induction to introduce a pattern of scientific rea...
Published on May 1, 2005in American Biology Teacher 0.28
J. Jose Bonner10
Estimated H-index: 10
(IU: Indiana University Bloomington)
Published on Jan 1, 2004
Theodore Schick2
Estimated H-index: 2
,
Lewis Vaughn2
Estimated H-index: 2
Foreword Preface Chapter 1. Introduction: Close Encounters with the Strange The Importance of Why Beyond Weird to the Absurd A Weirdness Sampler Notes Chapter 2. The Possibility of the Impossible Paradigms and the Paranormal Logical Possibility Versus Physical Impossibility The Possibility of ESP Theories and Things On Knowing the Future Study Questions Evaluate These Claims Discussion Questions Field Problem Critical Reading and Writing Suggested Readings Notes Chapter 3. Arguments Good, Bad an...
Published on Nov 1, 2000in American Biology Teacher 0.28
Anton E. Lawson41
Estimated H-index: 41
CALLS for curriculum reform in secondary and undergraduate education emphasize the need to teach science in a ‘‘hands-on,’’ ‘‘minds-on’’ investigative way that engages students in active inquiry. For example, a National Science Foundationsponsored panel of scientists, mathematicians and engineers recommended that the focus of new programs ‘‘. . . be on open-ended activities that enhance skills of observation and discovery, hypothesis formation, testing and evaluation (Division of Undergraduate S...
Published on Jan 1, 1969
P. B. Medawar19
Estimated H-index: 19
Published on Aug 25, 1966
Carl G. Hempel22
Estimated H-index: 22
In section 3.3 of [i]Philosophy of Natural Science[/i], Hempel argues that crucial tests are not sufficient enough to prove a given hypothesis or to disprove them. Hempel states what some may believe why a crucial test can prove or disprove a hypothesis. If there are two competing hypothesis which involve the same subject and no available evidence favors one or the other, then there exists a test, which will produce conflicting outcomes for the different hypotheses. This test is the so-called cr...
Published on Oct 16, 1964in Science 41.04
John R. Platt26
Estimated H-index: 26
Scientists these days tend to keep up a polite fiction that all science is equal. Except for the work of the misguided opponent whose arguments we happen to be refuting at the time, we speak as though every scientist's field and methods of study are as good as every other scientist's, and perhaps a little better. This keeps us all cordial when it comes to recommending each other for government grants. But I think anyone who looks at the matter closely will agree that some fields of science are m...
Published on Dec 1, 1961in Nature 43.07
Francis Crick63
Estimated H-index: 63
(Medical Research Council),
Leslie Barnett14
Estimated H-index: 14
(Medical Research Council)
+ 1 AuthorsR. J. Watts-Tobin1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Medical Research Council)
In this paper Crick, Brenner, and their collaborators described a very elegant series of genetic experiments by which they proved that the genetic code for protein was a triplet code. They used an acridine dye, proflavin, to induce mutations in a specific, well-studied gene of a virus, a so-called bacteriophage, that attacked the bacterium Escherichia coli. The effect of proflavin was to either eliminate a single nucleotide from the gene or to add a nucleotide, each of which had the effect of re...
Cited By2
Newest
Published on Jan 1, 2017in American Biology Teacher 0.28
Josef de Beer6
Estimated H-index: 6
(NWU: North-West University),
Neal Petersen1
Estimated H-index: 1
(NWU: North-West University)
This article provides ideas for a laboratory investigation into the role of the plant hormone ethylene in seed germination. The role of ethylene is explored from various perspectives, namely from an indigenous knowledge perspective, but also from a botany and economic angle. This article shows how students could test indigenous knowledge claims related to ethylene in the school laboratory.
Published on May 1, 2012in American Biology Teacher 0.28
Josef de Beer6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UJ: University of Johannesburg)
Recent research has identified a karrikin (a butenolide derative) known as 3-methyl-2H-furo[2,3-c]pyran-2-one, formed from burning cellulose, that stimulates seed germination. Here, I present ideas on how to investigate the influence of karrikins on seed germination in the laboratory.