Recent developments in scientific research involve conducting studies with very specific rules and procedures. These guidelines are designed to ensure that the results of the study represent the truth, and to protect participants’ rights to privacy.
Research has shown that doing ethical, rigorous science is not easy! It takes time, effort, and lots of resources- all non-negotiable when working under ethics regulations. This is why most researchers have an internal bar for how much unethical behavior they will tolerate before they do something else.
As a researcher, you must be aware of this barrier and work hard to stay within budget parameters and ethical limits at all times.
It is also important to understand what types of studies there are so you can choose the best one for your topic and audience. By being familiar with the field, you will know if a study is worth it or not, and whether or not it fits your purposes.
This article will go into more detail about how scientifically sound studies are conducted, as well as some examples of how professional scientists conduct their business.
The nature of science
Over the last few centuries, scientists have gathered ever-growing amounts of information about our world and ourselves. This process is called research.
Research can be conducted in many different ways depending upon what area of study we are looking into. Some studies are purely observational, while others use experimental methods to test hypotheses or theories.
The way that researchers gather data usually makes a big difference in the reliability of their findings. For this reason, it is very important to know how scientific experiments are done.
It is also crucial for the public to understand why all scientific investigations must be independently replicated before they are considered valid. This applies not only to studies but also to conclusions drawn from these studies.
When there is an inconsistency between two results, it is imperative to repeat the experiment to ensure that your own observations were faulty. Only then should you draw your conclusion.
Types of science
There are three main types of scientific research-measurement studies, observational studies, and experimentals studies. All three begin with investigations or observations about the nature of things. In measurement studies, you test whether there is a correlation between two variables. For example, is eating chocolate every day good for your health? Observational studies evaluate this by conducting surveys to determine how much chocolate people eat and if it has positive effects on their overall health.
In experimental studies, researchers take an intervention that works and adds something new to it – they add another component, like drinking green tea instead of coffee. By doing so, they can determine what effect, if any, the addition has on the outcome. These experiments can be more targeted, such as testing whether red wine is effective in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors, or whether probiotic supplements do anything helpful.
There are several reasons why using observation, experimentation, or both is important in studying relationships between nutrition and health. First, observational studies cannot prove cause and effect — they only show association. A causal relationship may exist, however, making it possible to develop definitive conclusions about nutritional impacts. Experimental studies can sometimes eliminate confounding factors, giving better insights than observational ones.
Second, not all interventions have adequate exposure periods to observe changes (or none at all!). Using both approaches helps account for this limitation.
A research methodology is what type of study you will do to find answers to your questions. There are many different types of studies, each with their own special rules or guidelines. For example, some studies are not randomized so people may feel biased when looking at the results.
There are five basic components that make up the methodological framework for most empirical (experimental and observational) studies. These components include: topic or question, participants, intervention, measurements, and analysis.
Each component varies in length depending on the nature of the study, but all must be included. Sometimes only three of these components are needed to determine if there was an effect or not!
The analysis part comes last because it does not change based on which study type you choose. Once everything else is chosen, you can start analyzing your data. Some parts such as measurement tools need more than one step to process them.
That means after you take your test items or surveys, you have to either code or summarize the responses into numbers or categories, respectively. Then you can add all those numbers together to get a total score or category count for the item/test.
Sample research project
What does it take to do scientific research? As mentioned earlier, doing scientific research comes down to conducting experiments and analyzing data gathered from those experiments. An experiment is when you test a hypothesis or theory against what is called a control group. For example, let’s say your goal is to determine whether or not eating chocolate makes your weight drop. You could test this theory by having one person eat one bar of chocolate per week for a month and a second person who will be in the control group have no chocolate at all for that same period of time.
Not only would they not eat chocolate, but they also must weigh themselves every day and compare their weights with their own previous days’ weights. If their weight drops then we can assume that chocolate made them lose weight since the control group usually loses weight while the experimental group doesn’t. This strategy is used heavily in nutritional studies because it controls for many potential confounding factors such as diet diversity and physical activity.
If the participant in the study eats more than one bar of chocolate during the week, then we cannot make any conclusions about the effect that chocolate has alone- there may be other reasons for the loss in weight. It is important to note here that even if there are differences between the two groups after the experiment has ended, that does not mean that the initial hypothesis was false!
It means that we need to do additional investigations to find out why there were differences between the two groups.
After submitting a grant, most academic researchers are left with lots of work to do! They must prepare their labs for experiments, gather all the materials needed for experimentation, run basic checks on equipment, and so on. This is what we refer to as “post-submission research” because it happens after you have submitted your grant but before your grant is approved or rejected.
This is very common practice in science. It has two main benefits:
It helps ensure that your experiment was properly prepared and conducted, which increases the reliability of your data.
By doing this right away, people can focus more on gathering new data while your current project is supported, giving you more time to collect important information.
There are several types of review that need to be done for grants. Some reviews check if the lab environment is appropriate, if members of the community should be involved, and if there are adequate controls in place to make sure the results are valid. These internal validity checks help prevent false conclusions due to experimental flaws.
Another type of review looks at whether the findings match what people expect from past studies. These external validity checks help ensure that what is being studied actually applies to the real world. For example, studying how well knee replacements last compares with other similar knees.
Yet another set of reviews look at whether the funding source had financial conflicts of interest.
Disciplines of science
The discipline of science is not one single thing, but rather a collection of different practices that are focused on understanding how nature works. These disciplines all have their place as part of our overall goal to discover natural truths about the world around us.
There are five main branches of scientific research: biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. Each of these areas investigates fundamental components of life that work in similar ways.
By studying the parts of living things we can learn more about how they function as a whole. For example, by looking at cells you can find out what makes them live or die because every cell contains DNA which codes for specific substances such as blood, skin, hair, and internal organs.
These basic chemicals make up your body’s structure and system. By identifying the individual chemicals in each tissue type, doctors can diagnose disease and identify potential drug treatments.
Time and resources
Funding is usually gathered through grants or competitions. Grants are typically sponsored by an individual, organization, or government that want to see what research project you can do next. Competing in grant competitions requires time, energy, and lots of preparation.
Most academic researchers spend several hours per day researching, writing up notes, doing experiments, and compiling data. Add this to the fact that many now-famous scientists spent years studying before receiving their doctorate degree and it becomes clear how much time most experts outshine us!
Scientists also need expensive materials and equipment to conduct their work. For example, testing chemical compounds often means buying tons of bottles of liquid compound for experimentation. Equipment like test tubes, balances, and other basic tools are cost very well.
With all these things taken into consideration, we as individuals are simply not capable of conducting adequate scientific studies on our own.
The process of conducting scientific research includes a rigorous peer-review system. Scientists submit their work to be critiqued by their peers, who check it for accuracy and credibility.
This is called peer review. By the time most academic papers are published, they have gone through at least two rounds of this process.
The first round comes from other scientists in your field that you know and trust. They take an active part in reviewing your paper and giving their feedback.
These people may ask questions or give comments about the methodology, findings, or conclusions of the paper. Some reviewers may even suggest alternatives to answer the main question of the study.
After receiving reviews, the corresponding author (usually the researcher who wrote the original manuscript) responds with changes or edits if needed. Then, these revised versions get rereviewed until both internal and external consistency are met.
At this stage, the journal editor will make the final call as to whether the article meets its standards and can be formally accepted.