Doing Science: Design, Analysis, and Communication of Scientific Research / Edition 1

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Doing Science offers a rare compendium of practical advice based on how working scientists practice their craft. It covers each stage of research, from formulating questions and gathering data to developing experiments and analyzing results and finally to the many ways for presenting results. Drawing on his extensive experience both as a researcher and a research mentor, Ivan Valiela has written a lively and concise survey of everything a beginning scientist needs to know to succeed in the field. He includes chapters on scientific data, statistical methods, and experimental designs, and much of the book is devoted to presenting final results. He gives valuable suggestions for improving scientific writing, for preparing scientific talks, and devotes three chapters to hands-on advice for presenting data in charts, tables, and graphs. Anyone beginning a scientific career, or anyone who advises students in research, will find Doing Science an invaluable source of advice.
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Editorial Reviews

Many books cover research design and data analysis, and some discuss communicating findings, but Valiela (Boston U. Marine Program) demonstrates the importance of gathering these topics between two covers. The first half of the book covers the principles of empirical and deductive science, elements of scientific data and tests of questions, statistical analyses, and principles of research design; the second presents invaluable information about writing, speaking, and graphically interpreting scientific findings. The last chapter discusses current perceptions about science, postmodern critiques, and why it is in scientists' interest to educate the public about science and its limitations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"This volume is not a mere manual, but a readable narrative filled with facts and anecdotes about what makes research snap versus fizzle. Much of the advice remains timely and relevant, such as how a scientific community must consider cheats and frauds, as well as honest mistakes. Although directed largely at beginning researchers, some of the advice and information here will provoke thought for even seasoned researchers. Scientists at all levels of practice can benefit from Valiela's experience and deeply thoughtful approach in considering the peaks and pitfalls encountered in the conduct of science." — The Quarterly Review of Biology

"This new edition of Doing Science would be a perfect resource for courses that some graduate departments offer beginning researchers on how to initiate, conduct, and report on a research project. It would be a valuable addition to the libraries of both seasoned and novice researchers."—Choice

"An essential reference for both instructors and students that fills an important gap in the undergraduate curriculum. The final section of this book illustrates its importance, as the author examines current perceptions of science. If more scientists took the time to consider how to communicate more clearly, design more clear-cut studies, and explain their results in a more convincing way, the gap between scientific consensus and public understanding might not be so large." —Teacher Education Materials (TE-MAT) Project

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195134131
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivan Valiela is Senior Resident Scientist of the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

1 Obtaining Scientific Information 3

1.1 Introduction 3

1.2 Empirical Science 5

1.3 Deductive Science 19

2 Elements of Scientific Data and Tests of Questions 33

2.1 Kinds of Date 33

2.2 Accuracyand Precision 36

2.3 Frequency Distributions 37

2.4 Descriptive Statistics 40

2.5 Distributions and Transformations of Data 44

2.6 Tests of Hypotheses 47

3 Statistical Analyses 53

3.1 Analysis of Variance 54

3.2 Regression 64

3.3 Correlation 69

3.4 Analysis of Frequencies 73

3.5 Summary of Statistical Analyses 74

3.6 Transformations of Data 76

4 Principles of Research Design 85

4.1 Desirable Properties of Research Design 85

4.2 Design of Treatments 86

4.3 Design of Layout 90

4.4 Response Design 101

4.5 Sensible Experimental Design 103

5 Communication of Scientific Information: Writing 107

5.1 The Matter of Publication 107

5.2 The Matter of Which Language to Use 112

5.3 Writing Scientific English 118

6 Communicating Scientific Information: The Scientific Paper 139

6.1 Organization of a Scientific Paper 139

6.2 The Life History of a Scientific Paper 150

6.3 Scientific Papers: Important and Changing 159

7 Other Means of Scientific Communication 163

7.1 The Scientific Talk 163

7.2 The Poster Presentation 171

7.3 The Proposal 174

8 Presenting Data in Tables 187

8.1 Why Show Data in Tables? 187

8.2 The Elements of Tables 190

8.3 Layout of Tables 193

8.4 Tables That Need Not Be Tables 195

9 Presenting Data in Figures 199

9.1 Graphical Perception 204

9.2 Types of Figures 205

9.3 Principles of Graphical Representation 225

10 Case Studies of Graphical Data Presentation 235

10.1 Bivariate Graphs 237

10.2Three-Variable Graphs 251

10.3 Histograms 253

10.4 Bar Graphs 258

10.5 Pie Diagrams 264

11 Doing Science in Society 275

11.1 The Profession of Science 275

11.2 Unbiased and Independent Judgment 275

11.3 Validity of Facts 278

11.4 Giving Credit to Others and Sharing Credit 284

11.5 How Widespread Is Questionable Behavior in Science? 284

12 Perceptions and Criticisms of Science 291

12.1 Current Perceptions about Science 291

12.2 Science and Some Modern Critics 308

12.3 Sharpening Perceptions about Science 312

Index 323

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