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Understanding the Scientific Method – Biology

After receiving a degree in biology, you are hired to work in the drug development
division of a major pharmaceutical company. On your first day on the job, your
boss asks you to test the effectiveness of a newly designed drug for treating
pneumonia. He doesn’t feel motivated to review the steps of the scientific method
with you, since you are fresh out of a college with a degree in biology!
Fortunately, you do remember the steps of the scientific method, and you designed
the following experiment.

1. Find 200 people that are infected with pneumonia.


2. Administer Drug X to 100 people, while giving the remaining 100 people a
placebo drug.
3. After several days, determine how many people have recovered fro pneumonia.

Question 1:
In designing this experiment, your hypothesis would have been:
a. People with pneumonia are really sick.
b. Why are people with pneumonia sick?
c. Drug X is an effective treatment for pneumonia.
d. Will Drug X help speed patient recovery from pneumonia?
e. Patients with pneumonia are willing to take experimental drugs.

Question 2:
Which is considered the experimental group?
a. Group A
b. Group B

Question 3:
How would you interpret the data above?
a. More people recovered after taking drug X
b. More people recovered after taking the placebo

Question 4:
88 people from Group A recovered; this data would be classified as:
a. Qualitative data
b. Quantitative data

Question 5:
Your interpretation of the experimental results allows you to conclude:
a. The experiment was successful! I have proven the effectiveness of Drug X
b. Drug X is ineffective because not all of the patients in group A recovered.
c. The data is promising; Drug X is effective, I should review my results and
repeat the experiment.
d. The data shows that Drug X is ineffective, I should suggest that the drug be
modified and/or the dosage changed and then I can repeat the experiment with an
improved version of Drug X.

Question 6:
You explain to your boss that your conclusions were based on…
a. Facts
b. Faith
c. Public Opinion
d. Personal Convictions

Question 7:
As a good scientist you should primarily be concerned with:
a. Proving the hypothesis
b. Overlooking confusing data
c. Generating expected results to please your boss
d. Testing the hypothesis

Question 8:
A hypothesis must be testable in order to be considered by a scientist.
a. True
b. False

Question 9:
The reason(s) to repeat an experiment
a. To reject hypothesis
b. To accept hypothesis
c. Both of above

Question 10:
A well tested hypothesis that has not been disproved over time becomes a…
a. Theory
b. Fact
c. Law
d. Idea

Student Background Information:


11. How many college science courses have you taken?
a. This is my only science course
b. 1 to 3 others
c. More than 3 other science courses

12. How many scientific disciplines (i.e. biology, chemistry, physics, etc) are
represented in your course work?
a. 1 discipline only
b. 2 to 3 disciplines
c. more than 3 disciplines

13. Where have you take these science courses?


a. At CPCC only
b. At CPCC plus another college or university