In many ways, the scientific method is the foundation for everything that science has discovered and accomplished. The scientific method represents a methodical and useful tool for asking questions and seeking answers. While it is the responsibility of the researchers to adhere to the scientific method, it is also possible to evaluate scientific findings and trace how the scientific method was used in experiments. In this paper, the scientific method will be traced in an experiment involving mice and coffee, where the researchers were interested in the effect coffee consumption had upon mice that were genetically engineered to become diabetic.
The scientific method follows a predictable pattern of asking questions, testing those questions, and then drawing conclusions from the tests that were conducted. Any research begins with a question, which is the basis of the scientific method. From there, research must be conducted to determine what testing has already been done in regards to the selected question. This helps scientists avoid repeating testing unnecessarily and can help direct their testing. Using the gathered information, the researchers can then construct a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a statement about what is expected to happen. This is followed by designing an experiment to test the hypothesis. During the experiment, it is important to keep as many factors as possible identical, with the exception of the one factor that is being tested. After the experiment, any findings should be analyzed to decide whether the hypothesis was correct, incorrect, or somewhere in-between.
In this experiment, which was reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Yamauchi et al, 2010), the researchers sought to find out what relationship, if any, coffee had upon the development of diabetes. Previous studies had indicated that coffee might be of use to ward off the development of diabetes in humans. The scientists behind this experiment wanted to investigate this possibility in a more focused study than had been previously done. Their use of the scientific method began with establishing a hypothesis. In this case, their hypothesis was that coffee consumption is useful for avoiding the development of diabetes. With their hypothesis established, the researchers then needed to design an experiment that would test their hypothesis.
For their experiment, the researchers used genetically altered mice to test their hypothesis that coffee can help avoid developing diabetes. The mice in the experiment were guaranteed to develop diabetes under normal conditions. By dividing the mice into two groups, the researchers were able feed one group thinned coffee, while the other received only water. The experiment lasted for five weeks, with other factors such as food and living environments kept as similar as possible. The two groups of mice in this experiment represent a control group and a treatment group. The control group...