Communicating Ideas Topic: Scientific

Investigations Keyword: HM61358 Topic: Scientific

Investigations Keyword: HM61358

Maintained by the

Maintained by the ritji/r National Science II\I\J. Teachen Aesociation

An essential aspect of scientific research is scientists working together. Scientists often work together in research teams or simply share research results with other scientists. This is done by publishing findings in scientific journals or presenting them at scientific meetings, as shown in Figure 1-12. Sharing information allows others working independently to verify findings or to continue work on established results. For example, Roger Payne published the results of his owl experiments in a journal in 1971. Then, other biologists could repeat it for verification or use it to study the mechanisms introduced by the paper. With the growing importance of science in solving societal issues, it is becoming increasingly vital for scientists to be able to communicate with the public at large.

Publishing a Paper

Scientists submit research papers to scientific journals for publication. A typical research paper has four sections. First, the Introduction poses the problem and hypotheses to be investigated. Next, the Materials and Methods describe how researchers proceeded with the experiment. Third, the Results state the findings the experiment presented, and finally, the Discussion gives the significance of the experiment and future directions the scientists will take.

Careers in BIOLOGY

Forensic Biologist

Job Description Forensic biologists are scientists who study biological materials to investigate potential crimes and other legal issues against humans and animals. Forensic scientists have knowledge in areas of biology, such as DNA and blood pattern analysis, and work in private sector and public laboratories.

Focus On a Forensic Biologist

As a law enforcement forensic specialist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Beverly Villarreal assists the game warden in investigations of fish and wildlife violations, such as illegal hunting and fishing. Villarreal analyzes blood and tissue samples to identify species of animals such as fish, birds, and reptiles. Her work helps game wardens as they enforce state laws regarding hunting and fishing. Most people think of forensic scientists as the glamorous crime investigators on TV, but according to Villarreal real forensic scientists "spend a great deal of time at a lab bench running analysis after analysis." Many of the methods used in animal forensics, such as DNA sequencing, are also used in human forensics.

Education and Skills

• High school—three years of science courses and four years of math courses.

College—bachelor of science in biology, including course work in zoology and genetics, plus experience in performing DNA analyses. Skills—patience, attention to detail, and ability to use fine tools.

For more about careers, visit and type in the keyword HM6 Careers.

For more about careers, visit and type in the keyword HM6 Careers.

After scientists submit their papers to a scientific journal, the editors of that journal will send the paper out for peer review. In a peer review, scientists who are experts in the field anonymously read and critique that research paper. They determine if a paper provides enough information so that the experiment can be duplicated and if the author used good experimental controls and reached an accurate conclusion. They also check if the paper is written clearly enough for broad understanding. Careful analysis of each other's research by fellow scientists is essential to making scientific progress and preventing scientific dishonesty.

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