Chemistry 2

Scientific Method

  1. Whenever possible a control should be used. A control experiment is an experiment which duplicates another experiment in every way possible except for the particular factor being tested. In a sense, it is the "normal" group, or the group where you don't expect anything unusual to happen.
    1. Examples of a control experiment
      1. If you wanted to test the efficacy of a new drug, you would have at least two groups of people, neither of which knows if they are taking the drug. One group would be given a pill that contains the drug being tested, and the other would get a placebo (a pill not containing any active ingredients). Everything else about the two groups should be as identical as possible. The group taking the placebo is called the control group or experiment.
      2. If you wanted to test the hypothesis: "Minnows are good for luring fish to a hook in the Sudbury River.", you would have to do two experiments.
        1. Fish in the Sudbury River with minnows on the hook.
        2. Fish in the Sudbury River with nothing on the hook.
          Note: Everything must be the same between these two experiments. You must use the same hook, fish in the same location, with the same gear, in the same boat, at the same time of day, in the same weather conditions.

          Which experiment do you think is the control?

          Experiment 1
          Experiment 2

      3. What if you wanted to test the hypothesis: "Adding a dash of cinnamon to chili will make it taste amazing." ?
        1. What would be a way to set up the experimental group and the control group?
        2. What would have to be the same between the two experiments described above?
  2. Experimenting using the scientific process follows a certain cycle.
    1. Make observations that lead you to ask a question.
    2. Come up with a hypothesis to explain your observations.
    3. Collect data on experiments that you did to test you hypothesis.
    4. Analyze the data and go back to step iii.
    5. Repeat the above cycle until you have enough evidence/data to suggest that you may have the correct answer to your questions.
  3. The two most important pieces of the Scientific Method are using a control when possible and repetition of experiments to verify results.
  4. Cold fusion story.