The Scientific Method

Many of us keep animals for the simple enjoyment of having them around and being able to observe their interesting forms and behaviors in our homes. Having a solid understanding of the scientific method can make our pet keep hobby more interesting and can improve the care we give to our animals. 

Types of Science

Observational or experimental

Six steps of the scientific method

Step 1: Observation

Simply observing our animals’ behaviors and keeping detailed systematic notes is a form of science in and of itself.  However, a true scientific experiment also starts with observations. This is a period were you spend time simply observing the animal’s behavior.

Example: You observe that your Giant Roaches eat a wide variety of foods that you offer, including fresh fruit like bananas and dry dog food.

Step 2: Question

The next step is to ask a question about the behaviors that you are observing.

Example: Do Giant Roaches prefer to eat fresh banana or dry dog food?

Step 3: Hypothesis

In this step, you make a prediction about what you think the answer to your question will be. You might want to formulate your hypothesis with an if statement.

Example: If I give my Giant Roaches the choice to eat Fresh Banana or Dry Dog food, I think the Roaches will eat more Fresh Banana than Dry dog food.

Step 4: Methods

During the methods step you will decide how you will conduct the experiment.

Example: I will weigh out 1 gram of banana and 1 gram of dry dog food and place it in the Roaches’ . The next day I will weigh the food again to see how much the roach has eaten.

Step 5: Results

For the results you will state specifically what you found.

Example: After 1 day, the banana weighed .76 grams and the dry dog food weighed .83 grams.

Step 6: Conclusion

The Null Hypothesis

Variability

Control Variable

Experimental Variable

Replication

test