Doing scientific research is not easy, nor does it come easily to most people. It takes time, energy, and investment in materials and equipment to begin conducting meaningful studies.
There are many ways to start doing systematic science investigations. This article will talk about some of these starting points for individuals who are wanting to do their own experiments or create their own experiments. These concepts can be adapted to anyone’s skill level, even if you have no background in science!
The first concept we will look at is how to conduct simple experimentation. By experimenting with different materials or processes, you can learn a lot about chemistry, physics, or biology. These experiences and knowledge bases can help you determine whether this new material works or not and why!
Next, we will discuss how to use basic tools to test your hypotheses. For example, you may want to compare two products on how well they work in cleaning a surface. You would need a way to measure the quality of the product (e.g., does it leave a residue?), the amount of cleanliness completed (by weighing it), and how well the item cleans the surface (determined by testing it on an empty surface).
After that, we will talk about using experimental methods to test your hypothesis. For instance, you could experiment with different types of balls while bouncing off of a wall. You would need to know what kind of ball bounces higher than another one so you can choose that one as your winner.
Narrow down your list of topics to 1-2
A good topic is one that you have strong internal motivation to pursue. If you are not interested in this topic, then what is the point?
If you are looking for external rewards such as praise or money, then the topic isn’t important enough. You will be motivated to do well for these things, but research shows that it’s more likely to develop lasting results when you are internally motivated.
So, if you aren’t really excited about scientific research, start with something closer to home. Perhaps you already enjoy reading science fiction novels, so why don’t you try writing your own? Or maybe you’re fascinated by music, so why don’t you learn how to play an instrument?
By learning new skills, you will improve your general knowledge and literacy, which are always helpful, but they can also help you achieve your career goals.
Create a topic group based on your list
The next step in starting up your scientific research is creating a topic group. This can be done via Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or any other document editing tool.
Once you have this set up, start by making a title that aligns with your initial brainstorming. Then, under each title, create an additional sub-title and add some detail to make it more specific.
For example, if your main topic was how to mend broken glass, then your first topic group could be called “Mend Glass” while your second topic group could be titled “Wire Breaking”. Within these two topics, there may be further details such as “chemical properties of metals”, “types of wire”, etc.
Decide what scientific research methodology you would like to use
There are many different strategies for starting up a scientific experiment or project, depending on how much time you have and what resources you have access to. For example, you can start with observational studies by looking at and studying examples of past experiments and projects to see what worked and what did not. You could also do experimental studies by doing something new and seeing what happens!
The two most common types of observational studies are case-control studies and cohort studies. A case-control study looks into whether one group (the cases) is more likely to experience an outcome than another (the controls), while a cohort study follows participants over time to determine if one group is more likely to experience the outcome.
Case studies are very specific comparisons that test one hypothesis, whereas cohort studies make broader predictions about the relationship between two variables. Because of this, cohort designs are usually better as long term studies because they can make conclusions that may be influenced by other factors. However, they will take longer to complete.
Choose a location for your research
Setting up an academic lab is not as easy as some might make it seem! Before you start collecting all of those expensive supplies, there are two main things that you will need to have done- choosing a good area to do your scientific experiments in and finding a place to house all of your equipment and materials while you are studying or experimenting.
You will also want to be sure that whatever area you choose is safe and clean so that you don’t hurt yourself or waste money buying new equipment because something broke down.
There are many different types of areas where students study including school labs, homes with private spaces, friends’ houses and even public facilities such as libraries and community centers. No matter what type of space you find, make sure it has proper ventilation and enough electrical power to run all of your equipment.
Remember, teaching ourselves is great, but we can’t teach ourselves if we don’t know how to put our knowledge into action! Make sure you have time set aside each day to work in a comfortable environment that helps you focus.
Plan your experiment
One of the first things you must do in scientific research is plan your experiment. You will want to make sure that everything is well organized before you begin!
You should know what you are planning to test already, as this will help you determine how to organize your experiments. For example, if your goal is to see whether or not chocolate tastes better than no cocoa powder, then you need to find a way to compare those two conditions.
This could be by having one person try both types of chocolates and then asking them which ones they liked more, or using an online survey tool to ask people to fill out questions about each type of chocolate.
Planning your experiment takes time up front, but it’s very important because it helps ensure that your findings are real and honest. Plus, it can save you time in the long run by being efficient.
Prepare your laboratory
Once you have found an area of research that sounds interesting, it is time to start preparing for the project! You will need to make sure your lab is ready to go.
You do not want to start any experiments until your supplies are in order. This includes buying or making new equipment, such as pipettes, microplates, laminar flow hoods, etc.
Furthermore, there should be enough space to work with all of your tools and materials. Many colleges and universities can help you find a science-focused housing option or academic community where needed resources can be shared.
In addition to having adequate supplies, you must also ensure that everything is organized and accessible. Having a good working knowledge of how to use and organize your laboratory items is very important.
Lastly, although expensive, it is worth investing in a quality laminar flow hood to ensure safety for performing experimental procedures.
Obtain approval to conduct your research
Before you can begin conducting scientific research, you must first gain authorization to do so. This is typically done through either non-mandatory or mandatory preregistration websites/services or via sending out an email requesting permission to conduct research.
Most universities and academic institutions have a policy that if you are seeking funding for a project, you need to indicate whether there was no formal review process or whether there was and it was approved.
This is important to know because most researchers earn their money outside of teaching and studying!
So how does one go about getting this approval? Most academics agree that being able to describe the goal of your research and showing off past work are good ways to get initial approval.
After receiving this approval, the next step is to determine what level of scientific research you want to pursue. There are two main types: basic science and applied science.
Basic science experiments focus on exploring the inner workings of nature and technology, while applied studies look at solving practical problems using the results of the previous studies.
For example, when doing basic science research, scientists may experiment with materials to see how well they resist heat or explore why some plants grow in water instead of soil.
Applied studies might investigate whether certain foods aid in weight loss by examining how much food people eat and how many calories they consume.
There are lots of different areas within each type, making it very possible to create a career focused on just one.
Prepare your data
The next step in starting scientific research is gathering relevant information. You will need to make sure that you have done enough preparation before actually beginning to conduct your experiment. This includes making sure you have all of your materials and components, as well as having a good understanding of what you want to know about the material you are experimenting with.
It is important to remember that while experimentation can seem fun, doing it properly requires careful planning and organization. Make sure to keep track of any changes you make to your materials or experiments!
There are many ways to prepare for your experiment, such as by measuring one component and looking up its average value, determining how much of each ingredient you have, or testing the consistency of your mixture using a suitable tool.