How to Apply Good Science
I discuss "good science" with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. This is because applying good scientific thought isn't just for scientists. Good scientific thought makes you a more well informed person and keeps you more aware of how you form beliefs and test them.
This is a quick list of a few ways you can apply scientific thought:
- Good science is based on falsifiable hypotheses: If your study has no way of actually being disproved, it is not good science. It is possible that the an experiment or area of science is valid based on current evidence but becomes invalid in the future with new information or evidence. This has happen in all fields from biology to physics to psychology and it must not be taken personally.
- Good science is based on methods: Good science is very rarely about reinventing the wheel. Methods make it easier for others to fellow your train of thought. This includes a strong hypothesis, knowing what you're actually measuring, and checking for confounding variables (factors that may significantly affect what you're testing).
- Peer review is crucial: No matter how thorough you are, if you aren't comfortable with the critique or replication of your study and methods by others, you are not applying good science. Instead you are representing an opinion that you don't want changed.
The Take Home Message
Science is an iterative process. This means that you err on the side of not giving absolute conclusion about an entire area of study or topic based on one or two studies. You should look at research as a small step in a bigger system. The conclusion of one study is the potential hypothesis for many more.
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