Experimental Paradigm Used Throughout this Manual

Each exercise in this lab manual contains an experiment or observational study designed to illuminate certain biological phenomena and develop in students a working understanding of sound scientific method, experimental design and data reporting and analysis using proper statistics. A common experimental paradigm, based on the principles of sound scientific method and experimental design, is commonly used by all the experiments and observational studies in this manual. This paradigm is described here:

  • Experiment or Observational Study. Each study will first be identified as an experiment or observational study. An experiment imposes a treatment or experimental condition on a group of objects or subjects to observe the response. An observational study involves collecting and analyzing data under existing native conditions with no application of an experimental treatment.

  • Implementation of Sound Scientific Method. The following basic components of sound scietific method will be clearly stated and implemented:

    • The problem to be addressed and / or the question being asked. The first step in beginning any scientific inquiry is the development of a question about the real world and / or a statement of a problem one perceives.

    • An appropriate scientific hypothesis. A hypothesis is basically a conjecture that attempts to explain the phenomenon addressed in the question. A scientific hypothesis is a hypothesis that can be tested using the scientific method. If the hypothesis is not testable, it is not a valid scientific hypothesis.

    • Scientific predictions. A scientific prediction is a specific, sometimes quantitative, forecast of expected results.

    • Description of the experimental design. Proper experimental design entails, among other things, three important features: A clear definition of all variables, proper construction of experimental groups and controls and measurement repetition.

    • Proper Use of Statistics. The data will be reported and analyzed with appropriate statistics. This includes:

    • Proper construction of basic tables.

    • Proper use of descriptive statistics to decribe the data collected in the study. Specifically, the mean & standard deviation will be used to describe the collected data.

    • Proper use of inferential statistics to draw conclusions about the significant differences between test groups in an expweriment. Specifically, 2 X SEM, used as error bars on graphs, and T-tests will be used when the study is an experiment rather than a observational study.

    • Statement of Conclusions. Conclusions will be drawn, including statements with regard to support of the hypothesis.

CellBiologyOLM is authored by Stephen Gallik, Ph. D.| Copyright © 2011 by Stephen Gallik, Ph. D. | Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License