Applying the Scientific Method to Everyday Life

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Your paper should include the following:

  • A clear description of the steps used in the scientific method.
  • A clear description of an everyday problem that you think you could resolve using the scientific method. Your description should explain why you think you could resolve this problem using the scientific method. To answer this you need to understand what can and what cannot be answered by scientific means. Refer to the learning resources in Week 1.
  • A well-formulated research question that identifies the issue you are trying to resolve. The research question should be written in the form of a question. For example, if I am interested in learning what flavor of dog food to purchase the next time I go to the store, I might pose the following research question: “What flavor of dog kibble does my dog prefer?”
  • A well-formulated and testable hypothesis that makes a statement about the relationship between two or more variables. If I want to make a hypothesis that helps me to answer my research question, it might look something like this: “My dog prefers salmon flavored kibble over all other flavors of dog food.” My hypothesis is stated in such a way that it can be accepted or rejected once I gather more information. My hypothesis also helps me to think about how to design a study that will help me get to the bottom of this problem.
  • A clear description of how you would apply the scientific method to resolve your everyday problem. How might you set up a study that confirms or rejects your hypothesis and answers your research question? If I want to know whether salmon is my dog’s favorite flavor, how could I find this out for sure? Obviously, I would need to purchase some salmon flavored food, but what other factors would I need to consider? Should I buy one other flavor or multiple flavors? And how will I know that my dog actually likes one flavor over another? Should I place several bowls in front of him at the same time and see which one he eats? Or should I feed him a different flavor at each meal and measure how much he ingests each time? Maybe I could just ask him to place his paw on the bag he likes the best? Obviously, there can be different ways to set up a study and some are better than others. All studies have flaws and limitations. Researchers have to make decisions about what limitations they can tolerate and then design and defend the study that they think is the best.

Other requirements:

  • Your paper should be written using your best formal writing skills. Avoid contractions, slang, and jargon. Check your work for spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammatical errors. If you need help with your writing skills, contact UMUC’s Effective Writing Center for assistance.
  • Format:
    • If you refer to information that you found from another source, be sure to include citations and a reference list in keeping with APA format (6th).
    • Minimum of 1000 words
    • Cover page with a title, your name, course and section number, date
    • 1” margins
    • Page numbers – top of the page, flush right

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