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Asking and answering questions is the cornerstone of science yet formal training in understanding this key process is often overlooked. Asking Questions in Biology unpacks this crucial process of enquiry, from a biological perspective, at its various stages. It begins with an overview of scientific question-asking in general, before moving on to demonstrate how to derive hypotheses from unstructured observations. It then explains in the main sections of the book, how to use statistical tests as tools to analyse data and answer those questions before, finally, showing the best practice in presenting scientific reports. As such, it is an indispensable companion to all students of biology, but particularly those enrolled in courses concerning experimental design; data analysis; hypothesis testing; research methods; or any practical project work.
1. Doing Science: Where do questions come from? 1.1 Science as asking questions 1.2 Basic considerations 1.3 The skill of asking questions 1.4 Where do questions come from? 1.5 What this book is about 2. Asking Questions: The art of framing hypotheses and predictions 2.1 Observation 2.2 Exploratory analysis 2.3 Forming hypotheses 2.4 Summary 3. Answering Questions: What do the results say? 3.1 Confirmatory analysis 3.2 What is statistical significance 3.3 Significance tests 3.4 Testing hypotheses 3.5 Testing predictions 3.6 Refining hypotheses 3.7 Summary 4. Presenting Information: How to communicate outcomes and conclusions 4.1 Presenting figures and tables 4.2 Presenting results in the text 4.3 Writing reports 4.4 Summary Test finder and help guide Some self-test questions Appendix I: Table of confidence limits to the median Appendix II: How to calculate some simple significance tests Appendix III: Significance tables Answers to self-test questions Index Quick test finders
If you've been spoon fed pre-prepared protocols for all your practical classes, this is a great antidote, thoroughly and carefully explaining how to progress from having a little science-y think in the bath to actually carrying out an experiment to test your ideas. It demands that you justify not only your methods but also your rationale, something even professional scientists can take for granted. - Karen Dawe, Faculty of 1000