Just like art, science has no boundaries, but it does have an agenda. For help, it also has a certain eight-step approach. One of the great consequences of this method is the opportunity for something that art cannot do.
It is discovery !
Here are the steps
- Problem statement
- Literature review
- Null hypothesis
- Data collection
- Statistical analysis
For our project we have these agendas.
There is a great diversity of plants and animals in our ecosystem which interact with one another, including people. The problem is: How does this system impact me and how do I best live within this system? We are driven to ask the questions of why, how, when, where and why me?
In the Field Notes blog, the author will comment on observations. Appropriate citations to the literature will be made. Others may add to the discussion, hopefully with citations from peer reviewed publications to support their views.
This is a process of testing for probability of occurance. In short, this is a question of the probability of no influence. For example, rabbits were imported to Australia for sport hunting. No one asked the question, “If the rabbits multiply exponentially and infinitely there will be no impact on me.” The answer can be seen in Australia which became overwhelmed by an explosion of rabbits which ate everything green and triggered a subsequent explosion in rabbit predators. The destruction of the green habitat triggered flooding because there was nothing to hold the soil in place. They also displaced other herbivores etc. The issue of unintended consequences of actions, based on seemingly good intentions, can be horrific.
In our community, these types of issues have been repeated again and again as shown in farming methods, invasive species, and water management, just to name a few.
Our null hypothesis is: The interaction of the plants and animals in our ecosystem has no influence on us.
This is the test of the null hypothesis which has four aspects to consider.
- We must observe the ecosystem and how it works. This is a large task. To do this we must go into the field and observe.
- We must gather information in an organized fashion to see if there is order to the system which may be able to direct our attention. This “discovery” aspect is an important part of science. In discovery we may wish to change direction or seek out new areas to investigate.
- Look for order. Order may show cause and effect relationships or consequences of action.
- Remain unbiased and free of opinion until the data are examined and tested. Be prepared to repeat the test to absolutely confirm the results
The observations must be made in an organized fashion that may be analyzed. Our observations are a challenge to data collection. As we make our observations we may provoke new questions. As a result of these discoveries, new categories must be added to the data base, and some observation must be repeated to include these new findings. We are using a data base method that is reputable, secure and well documented. We use Epicollect5 with programmable functions that accept our observations in a table format. It can be downloaded into a number of programs in a comma delimited form. This includes MS Excel.
There are a number of statistical tools that may be applied to the data. These include mapping, plotting and number crunching.
The blog site of Everglades Ark allows for continuous feedback during the discovery process. All comments will be respectfully considered. If there are recommendations that are worthy and doable, we will apply them the best way we can to accomplish the end result.
The author will also include comments on observations to pique the interests of the readers; hopefully this will engender participation and stimulate group effort.
As we discover, test, analyze and discuss the observations, we will come to conclusions regarding some aspects of this adventure. Hopefully, it will lead us to answer a few of those questions of how, why, when, where and why me.
#scientific method #discovery #problem statement #discussion #conclusion #null hypothesis