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Tips and strategies for teaching the nature and process …

CORRECTION: Perhaps because the last step of the Scientific Method is usually "draw a conclusion," it's easy to imagine that studies that don't reach a clear conclusion must not be scientific or important. In fact, scientific studies don't reach "firm" conclusions. Scientific articles usually end with a discussion of the limitations of the tests performed and the alternative hypotheses that might account for the phenomenon. That's the nature of scientific knowledge — it's inherently tentative and could be overturned if new evidence, new interpretations, or a better explanation come along. In science, studies that carefully analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the test performed and of the different alternative explanations are particularly valuable since they encourage others to more thoroughly scrutinize the ideas and evidence and to develop new ways to test the ideas. To learn more about publishing and scrutiny in science, visit our discussion of .

A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon

Some researchers interpreted the specialised functions of the two hemispheres as different thinking styles. Thus, the localisation of language and the proposed serial processing of stimuli in the left hemisphere were equated with a rational, analytical, logical thinking style, while the preponderance in the right hemisphere of non-verbal, visuo-spatial tasks, together with the proposed simultaneous processing, was equated with a holistic, intuitive, emotional way of thinking. In 1970, in his influential book “The Psychology of Consciousness“, the psychologist Robert Ornstein hypothesised that Western people only use half their brains and hence only half their mental capacity. He argued that people in Western cultures have a well trained left hemisphere, due to the focus on language and logical thinking. They do, however, neglect their right hemisphere and its intuitive, emotional way of thinking. In short, Ornstein equated the left hemisphere with an analytical, logic way of Western thinking, and the right hemisphere with an intuitive, emotional Eastern way of thinking. Thus the traditionally established dualism of intellect and intuition got a physiological foundation based on the differences of the two brain hemispheres. This view resulted in many misinterpretations and incorrect assertions, which were far from the scientific findings. Facts and conjecture became blurred and the two hemispheres of the brain were not only ascribed two different thinking styles, but also two different personality styles. The concept of right brain and left brain thinking, together with the idea of a dominant hemisphere, resulted in the notion that people rely predominantly on one or the other way of thinking, i.e. they rely on either the left or the right hemisphere. It has been supposed that this usage of one or the other half of the brain is reflected in the cognitive style of an individual: a person, who thinks rationally and analytically was said to be left hemispheric. In contrast, a person who processes information intuitively and emotionally was classified as right hemispheric. The hemispheric ways of thinking and of cognitive style became very popular and can nowadays be found in a variety of periodicals, workshops and self-help books. They even found their application in the field of education.

Deduction & Induction - Social Research Methods

Null vs Alternative Hypothesis Scientific method explores the best possible and dependable explanation for a particular phenomenon. Based on the evidences

: In everyday language, the word usually refers to an educated guess — or an idea that we are quite uncertain about. Scientific hypotheses, however, are much more informed than any guess and are usually based on prior experience, scientific background knowledge, preliminary observations, and logic. In addition, hypotheses are often supported by many different lines of evidence — in which case, scientists are more confident in them than they would be in any mere "guess." To further complicate matters, science textbooks frequently misuse the term in a slightly different way. They may ask students to make a about the outcome of an experiment (e.g., table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt will). This is simply a prediction or a guess (even if a well-informed one) about the outcome of an experiment. Scientific hypotheses, on the other hand, have explanatory power — they are explanations for phenomena. The idea that table salt dissolves faster than rock salt is not very hypothesis-like because it is not very explanatory. A more scientific (i.e., more explanatory) hypothesis might be "The amount of surface area a substance has affects how quickly it can dissolve. More surface area means a faster rate of dissolution." This hypothesis has some explanatory power — it gives us an idea of a particular phenomenon occurs — and it is testable because it generates expectations about what we should observe in different situations. If the hypothesis is accurate, then we'd expect that, for example, sugar processed to a powder should dissolve more quickly than granular sugar. Students could examine rates of dissolution of many different substances in powdered, granular, and pellet form to further test the idea. The statement "Table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt" is not a hypothesis, but an expectation generated by a hypothesis. Textbooks and science labs can lead to confusions about the difference between a hypothesis and an expectation regarding the outcome of a scientific test. To learn more about scientific hypotheses, visit in our section on how science works.

By now, we know upon which findings the characteristic “verbal for the left hemisphere, and non-verbal, but visuo-spatial and emotional for the right hemisphere” are based. The next characteristic differences of the hemispheres listed in Table 1 concern sequential (serial) processing of the left hemisphere and simultaneous (parallel) processing of the right hemisphere. This idea reflects the widespread – but not generally accepted – model, which says that the left hemisphere preferentially processes fast changes and analyses details and characteristics of stimuli, while the right hemisphere deals with the simultaneous and global characteristics of stimuli. The other hemispheric characteristics in Table 1 (analytical, rational vs. holistic, intuitive) are not very well supported by scientific evidence, and remain rather speculative. Starting from the difference between verbal and non-verbal, more and more abstract concepts and relations between mental functions and the hemispheres were developed. During this process, the ideas about the difference of the two hemispheres departed more and more from the basic scientific results.

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