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Biology Introduction

Biology Introduction

The Scientific Method

Who are biologists, and how do they study biology? Contrary to popular belief, biologists are not boring, soulless, and socially awkward people wearing white lab coats and crooning to baby lizards. Well, not all of them, anyway…

In reality, biologists are as diverse as the organisms they study, and range from lab-dwelling DNA amplifiers and tree-swinging insect collectors to SCUBA-diving underwater cave explorers. We'd like to apply for that job. Please? We swear, we would totally rock at it. And we're qualified because we know what SCUBA stands for. That's totally all we need to know to be underwater cave explorers, right? Biologists can be found in numerous habitats, including universities, governments, pharmaceutical labs, zoos, medical facilities, national parks, and museums, to name a few.

Since biology is a science (shocker), biologists use the scientific method to formulate and test questions about the natural world. Oh yes, Shmoopers, believe it or not, there is a process for figuring things out in biology. The scientific method is usually presented as a linear process:

Observation leads to a hypothesis, which is tested by an experiment, which yields a conclusion.

But, as neat, orderly, and easy as this seems, this is not usually how science plays out. The scientific method is a tremendously complex and creative process that involves asking questions, making observations, doing experiments, and soliciting feedback. Scientists are constantly revising their questions, hypotheses, and experiments as new information is gathered. Doesn't that sound like fun?

All of you can read more about the scientific method here.

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