User:Longpd/Notebook/UQ Summer Research

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Summer Research Project - UQ 2010

  • The University of Queensland provides Summer Research Scholarships to contribute to on-going research activities and provide students a change to learn science by practicing it. OpenWetWare Online Scientific Notebooks provide a way to share your work with others around the world.
  • Open Science - the principles of scientific discovery are both methodological and social. The elements of this method involve
    • Characterizations (observation, definitions, and measurements of the subject of inquiry)
    • Hypotheses[39][40] (theoretical, hypothetical explanations of observations and measurements of the subject)
    • Predictions (reasoning including logical deduction from the hypothesis or theory)
    • Experiments (tests of all of the above)

Expressed as a linear sequence it is often represented as:

  1. Define the question
  2. Gather information and resources (observe)
  3. Form hypothesis
  4. Perform experiment and collect data
  5. Analyse data
  6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
  7. Publish or otherwise share results
  8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

Image:scientific_method.png

Graphic courtesy of Science Buddies

This sounds and looks nice and logical. But it misses much of the real process. Science is not a linear process - it doesn’t have to start with an observation or a question, and it often does not even involve experiments. Practicing the scientific methods involves using multiple types of research toward investigating phenomena, including experimentation, description, comparison, and modeling. Some scientific investigations employ one of these methods, but many involve multiple methods, or some studies may even have characteristics of more than one method. Results from one research study may lead in directions not originally anticipated, or even in multiple directions as different scientists pursue areas of interest to them.

The key aspect of open science is that this work done such that the methodology, procedures, and data that emerge from these practices are openly shared so that anyone can follow, reproduce or modify your work. Modifying your work isn't cheating or theft, it's progress.

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