The Science Process

Interested in how ANDRILL found where to drill and why? See how the science process takes place in today’s world.

observe 1: OBSERVE
Scientists around the world begin by simply looking at the world around them and watching. Scientists are interested in cause and effect. Why are there rainbows after a storm? Why is it windy outside? Where does water go when it rains?
By observing the world, we ask more and more questions about how things work, and why things happen the way they do.
As scientists, we can attempt to find some new understandings of the patterns of our world.
Science is not an attempt to provide hard, absolute facts. It is an ambitious attempt to understand things better, and to use our understandings to benefit our environment.

question 2: QUESTION
As you observe the world around you, what questions do you have?
Ask a question that you are interested in. Ask specific questions.
Choose a question that can be answered experimentally with measurable results. The question What is chlorosis? can be answered by reading about chlorosis (loss of green color in plants) in a science book. It cannot be answered by experimenting or observing something that is yet unknown.
Limit your question. The question What effect does light have on the production of pigment in plants? is not specific enough. What kind of light? What specific pigment? The question What effect does duration of sunlight have on chlorosis? is specific and has a measurable result.

hypothesize 3: HYPOTHESIZE
After scientists ask a question, they begin to put together hypotheses, or theories. These are educated guesses about what the answer to the question might be.
A good hypothesis is based off of research that has already been performed by other scientists interested in similar questions.
It is a highly probably, well-tested explanation, usually encompassing a large collection of observations.
To make your hypothesis, start with a statement that begins with "I think that... because..." Use information that you have collected in your observations.

Learn more about the subject of your question. Become the expert. The ANDRILL team has to face many challenges when finding ways to answer their questions. Antarctica is a large continent covered in ice. So when they decided that Antarctica was the best place to find answers to their questions, they had to research the best place to drill in Antarctica, and how to get through ice shelves and water, drill through the sediment, and bring up the core.
To find the best location to drill, the ANDRILL team conducted seismic surveys in the fall-winter of 2005 (spring-summer in Southern Hemisphere, including Antarctica).

proposal 5: PROPOSAL
To conduct research, scientists need to gain support for their ideas.
Large projects like ANDRILL require large amounts of money for travel, salary, equipment, and lodging. Antarctica presents many unique challenges that can be quite expensive to overcome.
To address these challenges, scientists need to convince science organizations like the National Science Foundation to support their research.
This also allows other scientists to hear about the research project and become involved. This way, many different people from different backgrounds can provide unique insights to the research project.

explore 6: CONDUCT

After you have observed, asked a question, hypothesized, found a way to answer your question, and proposed your research to those that can help you, it’s finally time to conduct your research!
This research can consist of an experiment. Experiments are meant to rule out certain hypotheses and provide evidence in support of others.
Science research can also consist of large amounts of data collection, like ANDRILL. ANDRILL is collecting meters of core from Antarctica. Scientists will use this large collection of data to work with scientific modelers.
These modelers will enter the ANDRILL data into their computer models and will be able to predict future global climate patterns.

discover 6: INTEGRATION

Scientists take the information they have gathered and use it to better understand the cause and effect relationships in the world around us. Scientific research is constantly changing and offering new ways of understanding these relationships.

© 2007-2009 by ANDRILL. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Creative Commons License