1. Identify and describe the steps of the scientific method. Which observations do you think the scientists made leading up to this research study? Given your understanding of the experimental design, formulate a specific hypothesis that is being tested in this experiment. Describe the experimental design including control and treatment group(s), and dependent and independent variables. Summarize the results and the conclusion (50 points)
2. Criticize the research described. Things to consider: Were the test subjects and treatments relevant and appropriate? Was the sample size large enough? Were the methods used appropriate? Can you think of a potential bias in a research study like this? What are the limitations of the conclusions made in this research study? Address at least two of these questions in your critique of the research study (20 points).
3. Discuss the relevance of this type of research, both for the world in general and for you personally (20 points).
Trace the Scientific Method in a Primary Scientific Article
There are four (4) main stages of a scientific method study.
This stage entails the act of making or noting an occurrence of a specific phenomenon. This initial observation may be experienced physically or through scientific experimentation. The research question(s) is subsequently posed as an attempt to explain the observation.
A hypothesis is further formulated as a verifiable statement which is to be tested and confirmed through the scientific research.
Experiment stage (hypothesis testing)
The experiment stage goal is to prove or disprove the hypotheses through the design and carrying out of an appropriate scientific experiment.
Analyses, Conclusion and Communication of the findings Stage.
After conducting the experiment, the resulting outcomes are analysed without any bias in an attempt to logically and theoretically explain the phenomenon under study.
Description of the research Study
Before conducting the study, Yamauchi et al. (2010) may have observed a trend where the blood sugar levels of an isolated group of lab mice that were regularly on coffee seemed to continually reduce unlike other groups who were denied coffee. A probable null hypothesis for this study is: Regular ingestion of diluted coffee does not decrease the chances of laboratory mice acquiring hyperglycaemia.
This was a lab experiment with mice as the subjects for a period of 5 weeks. The study involved 10 subjects in the treatment group and 11 subjects as the control group with the regular diluted coffee as the independent variable and the measured concentration of blood glucose in the subjects as the dependent variable. The lab experiment was conducted on a standardized diet and environment for both subject groups. The analysis of the results concluded that regular ingestion of coffee decreases the subjects’ blood glucose concentration by 30 per cent.
After conducting a full 5 weeks experiment, analysis and making the necessary conclusions, this study may be deemed as inconclusive and might require repetitive experimentation for the results to be widely acceptable. One of the major factors that may discredit this study is the sampling procedure. Sampling only considered subjects which have a genetic mutation that makes them become diabetic. This introduces an ascertainment bias because the sample is not correctly randomized and therefore not a representative of the entire subjects’ population. The sample size of 10 subjects in the treatment group and 11 subjects in the control group is also too small for the study to draw an accurate conclusion across the entire population. The study is therefore limited as it excludes the other subjects without the genetic mutation. The measured conclusions can only be inferred on the sampled subpopulation albeit with a large degree of uncertainty.
The scientific method is relevant as it enables scientists to generate ideas, scrutinize the ideas and factually consider the supporting or negating evidence on the idea or observation. The scientific method offers a structured mode of study that is governed by acceptable rules of reasoning in order to get rid of personal, social or physical influences that prevent objective consideration of a phenomenon. Furthermore, through the scientific method, the initial ideas or observations are modified, expanded and fused to generate more accurate explanations and theories.
Personally, I have appreciated the scientific method as a way to eliminate my individual perspectives and adhere to universally correct methods of observing, recording and analysing information on a particular subject under study. This method has also taught me to repetitively investigate an observation and carry out independent experimentations.
Yamauchi et al. (2010). Coffee and caffeine ameliorate hyperglycaemia, fatty liver, and inflammatory adipocytokine expression in spontaneously diabetic KK-Ay mice. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58 (9), 5597-5603. May 12, PMID: 20405946, ISSN: 1520-5118.