Hypothesis testing and the scientific method revisited

Jerry Wolff, Charles KREBS

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Our intention in this essay is one of consciousness raising for investigators to revisit the scientific method, make good use of hypothesis testing in research design, and have a good understanding of natural history in the selection of model species. Our overall presmise is that science could be advanced more quickly, objectively, and conclusively by following the logic of "Strong Inference", which posits rejecting alternative hypotheses and not just supporting favored hypotheses. We emphasize the importance and provide a logical sequence of steps from the observation, i.e. identification of a problem or unknown that has biological significance, a listing of all credible alternative hyphotheses that could explain the observation, each with its own set of testable and falsifiable predictions, followed by an experimental or research design that is a logical outcome of these predictions. We also emphasize the importance of selecting model species that are appropriate for addressing a specific theoretical questions and drawing inferences. What we present is not new, rather a reminder of the value of following basic scientific approaches for the advancement of science as well as individual careers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)383-386
    Number of pages4
    JournalCurrent Zoology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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