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The Scientific Method 

As with all sciences, biological research involves methodically searching for information.  The procedure associated with this search is called the scientific method. It involves 
  1. Asking questions, which are then followed by one or more hypotheses (educated guesses or hunches that answer or explain the question).
  2. Making predictions from the hypothesis, usually in the form of “if....then” statements (if the influenza virus causes the flu, then those exposed to it will become ill).
  3. Testing the predictions through experimentation, observation, model building, etc., including appropriate controls with which to compare the results.
  4. Repeating the investigations and devising new ways to further test the hypothesis (this may include modification of the hypothesis based on the results of the tests).
  5. Reporting the results and drawing conclusions from them.
A theory is similar to a hypothesis in that it is subjected to the scientific method, but a theory usually explains a broad range of related phenomena, not a single one. Theories are well supported hypotheses, shown to be valid under many different circumstances.
In science, there is no real beginning or end. All hypotheses are based on previous work, and all results and conclusions can be expanded in the future. Often experiments raise more questions than they answer.

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