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Biology LibreTexts

1: The Nature and Process of Science

  • Page ID
  • This chapter explains how scientists think and how they "do" science. It describes how scientific theories develop and how scientists investigate questions to advance scientific knowledge. The chapter also explains how science may be misused and how and why human subjects are protected in scientific research.

    • 1.1: Case Study - Why Should You Learn About Science?
      Samantha and Dave are expecting their first child. They are excited for the baby to arrive, but they are nervous as well. Will the baby be healthy?
    • 1.2: What Is Science?
      You may think of science as a large and detailed body of knowledge, but science is actually more of a process than a set of facts. The real focus of science is the accumulation and revision of scientific knowledge. Science is a special way of gaining knowledge that relies on evidence and logic. Evidence is used to continuously test ideas. Through time, with repeated evidence gathering and testing, scientific knowledge advances.
    • 1.3: The Nature of Science
      Science is a distinctive way of gaining knowledge about the natural world that starts with a question and then tries to answer the question with evidence and logic. Science is an exciting exploration of all the whys and hows that any curious person might have about the world. You can be part of that exploration. Besides your curiosity, all you need is a basic understanding of how scientists think and how science is done. In this concept, you'll learn how to think like a scientist.
    • 1.4: Theories in Science
      The man in this sketch is holding his nose to avoid breathing in miasma. Miasma refers to a toxic vapor that people believed for centuries was a cause of many diseases, including cholera and plague.
    • 1.5: Scientific Investigations
      If you were walking in the woods and saw this stream, you probably would wonder what made the water turn orange.
    • 1.6: Scientific Experiments
      The spots on this girl's tongue are an early sign of vitamin C deficiency, which is also called scurvy.
    • 1.7: Nonexperimental Scientific Investigations
      You've probably seen this warning label dozens of times.
    • 1.8: Case Study Shot Conclusion and Chapter Summary
      New mother Samantha left her pediatrician’s office still unsure whether to vaccinate baby James. Dr. Rodriguez gave her a list of reputable sources where she could look up information about the safety of vaccines for herself, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Thumbnail: This image describes the Scientific Method as a cyclic/iterative process of continuous improvement. Image used with permission (Public Domain).