What is Science?

How and Why Book on Science Experiments

Science is:

  • evidenced based
  • objective
  • based on a defined method for acquiring, creating and sharing knowledge.

The Work of A Scientist

A scientist must be able to:

1.  Find out what is already known about a topic and what remains to be discovered.  This involves
locating and accessing relevant background information and finding out who is working (or has worked) in a
particular field.                

2.  Write up research so that others can understand what was done, how it was done, what the results were, and why they are important.  Scientists then must decide where to publish a new discovery so that interested scientists will find it and read it.

3.  A scientist must stay up-to-date on current research in his/her field using relevant information to conceive of new ideas and design new experiments. 


Beaker and flask

Steps in the Scientific Method
1.  Formulate a hypothesis
2.  Analyze the data
3.  Ask a question
4.  Research the topic
5.  Accept/redevelop hypothesis
6.  Perform experiment(s)
7.  Share Results
General Characteristics of Research and Scholarship in the Sciences

  • Study of the natural world, seeking to understand relationships that are assumed to patterned.
  • Objective investigation and experimentation strive to represent an understanding of generalities.
  • Scientists seek experimental validity; integrity of the research methodology is as important as the results.
  • Growth of scientific knowledge is cumulative.  Therefore, immediacy and priority in discovery are critical.
  • Scientists often work collaboratively, so multiple authorships are common.
  • Research results are considered public domain, and are, therefore, openly shared and readily accessible.
  • The primary product of the literature of scientific inquiry is the journal article, being current and concise.
    Scientific Information Literacy Modules
    Unit 1:  What is Science?
    Unit 2:  Scientific Information
    copyright 2011 Napa Valley College

    updated June 14, 2011, by Nancy McEnery, Reference Librarian-Instructor