Scientific Method for Ecological Research.

Ford, E. David.

Scientific Method for Ecological Research. - 1 online resource (586 pages)

Cover -- Half-title -- Title -- Copyright -- Dedication -- Contents -- Preface -- Acknowledgements -- 1 Component processes of ecological research -- Summary -- SECTION I -- SECTION II -- SECTION III -- SECTION IV -- 1.1 Questions about the process of scientific research -- 1.2 Scientific methodology -- METHODOLOGY -- 1.3 Distinction between progress and process in scientific research -- 1.4 Section I: Developing an analytical framework -- 1.5 Section II: Making a synthesis for scientific inference -- 1.6 Section III: Working in the research community -- 1.7 Section IV: Defining a methodology for ecological research -- 1.8 Synopsis of methodological problems facing a new researcher in ecology -- 1.9 How to use this book to develop your research skills -- 1.10 Further reading -- Introduction to Section I: Developing an analytical framework -- SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS -- 1. Knowledge exists in three states -- 2. Whole theories evolve as investigations proceed -- 3. Explicit and careful definition must be made of concepts -- 4. Assessing postulates is the business of science, but there may be no definitive test -- 5.Measurement is essential in science, but there may be no absolute measurement of an ecological quantity or condition -- 6. No single technique of investigation - whether experiment, survey, field descriptions, or analysis of patterns in… -- 7. Different ecologists have different philosophies about what should be studied and how to study it -- 2 Five processes of research planning -- Summary -- 2.1 Introduction -- 2.2 Process 1: Defining a research question -- 2.2.1 Origins and types of research questions -- 1. Interest in observed natural phenomena -- 2. Application or test of a theory -- 3. Resolution of a discrepancy between theory and observation -- 4. Applying a new technique of measurement or method of data analysis. 2.2.2 Analysis of questions -- A.Transforming assumptions and questions into propositions -- B. Reviewing propositions in relation to the scientific literature -- C. Ordering propositions into those supported by the literature or direct observation, the axioms, and those that must be… -- 2.3 Process 2: Applying creativity to develop new research ideas -- 2.4 Process 3: Ensuring the proposed research has relevance to prior scientific knowledge -- 1. Understanding the publication system -- 2. Reading a scientific paper for method rather than content -- 3. Appreciating the tension between general theory and on-the-ground research -- 2.5 Process 4: Ensuring the proposed research is technically feasible and can be completed with available resources -- 2.6 Process 5: Determining how conclusions can be drawn -- 2.6.1 Developing a data statement: An example -- Data statement: Part One -- Data statement: Part Two -- Data statement: Part Three -- 2.6.2 Using statistics to illuminate the problem, not support a position -- 2.7 Further reading -- 3 Conceptual and propositional analysis for defining research problems -- Summary -- 3.1 Introduction -- 3.2 Constituents and properties of theories -- SCIENTIFIC METHOD -- OBJECTIVE KNOWLEDGE -- THEORY -- CONCEPT -- PROPOSITION -- AXIOM -- OVER-ARCHING AXIOM -- POSTULATE -- OVER-ARCHING POSTULATE -- LAW -- CODIFIED KNOWLEDGE -- UNCODIFIED KNOWLEDGE -- DATA STATEMENT -- A data statement -- HYPOTHESIS -- 3.3 Conceptual and propositional analysis -- 3.3.1 Phase One: Identifying the principal issues -- 3.3.2 Phase Two: Classifying concepts according to their status in the proggress of research -- CONCEPT FROM RESEARCH -- CONCEPT BY IMAGINATION -- CONCEPT BY MEASUREMENT -- CONCEPT BY INTUITION -- 3.3.3 Phase Three: Examining the complete research procedure -- AXIOMS -- POSTULATES -- DATA STATEMENTS. 3.4 Representing theories as networks -- 3.5 What can be gained from a conceptual and propositional analysis? -- 3.5.1 Deciding whether you can assume something or must investigate it -- 3.5.2 Understanding logical relationships between different pieces of knowledge -- 3.5.3 Assessing how complete a theory is -- 3.5.4 Knowing when to start practical investigation -- 3.6 Conclusion -- 3.7 Further reading -- 4 Development of a research plan -- Summary -- 4.1 Introduction -- 4.2 Process 1: Defining a research question -- 4.2.1 The first description -- 4.2.2 Initial development of a theory for the problem -- HOLDING CONCEPT -- 4.2.3 First definitions -- 4.2.4 First consideration of Process 4: Ensuring the proposed research is technically feasible and can be completed with… -- 4.2.5 First consideration of Process 2: Applying creativity to develop new research ideas -- 4.2.6 Continuation of Process 1: Defining a research question -- 4.3 Process 4: Ensuring the proposed research is technically feasible and can be completed with available resources -- 4.4 Process 3: Ensuring the proposed research has relevance to prior scientific knowledge -- 4.5 Process 2: Applying creativity to develop new research ideas -- 4.6 Process 5: Determining how conclusions can be drawn -- Data statement: Part One -- Data statement: Part Two -- Data statement: Part Three -- Scientific inference -- 4.7 Steel's comments on the planning process after completing her Master's thesis -- 4.8 Further reading -- 5 How theories develop and how to use them -- Summary -- 5.1 Introduction -- 1. Theories contain generalizations -- 2. Theories contain questions -- 3. Theories change continuously -- 5.2 Development of a theory from a simple postulate: Late-Quaternary vegetation change in central Alaska -- 5.2.1 Stage 1: Rejecting a simple postulate. 5.2.2 Stage 2: Exploring for spatial and temporal changes -- 5.2.3 Stage 3: Introducing axioms from tree ecology -- Axioms of species distribution -- Axioms of species environmental preferences -- 5.2.4 Stage 4: Increasing the precision of the theory -- 5.2.5 Stage 5: Working towards explanations that are coherent with meteorological theories -- 5.2.6 Assessment of theory development -- 5.3 Practical application of a theory: Hybridization in fish species -- 5.4 Development, properties, and use of ecological theories -- PROGRESSIVE THEORY DEVELOPMENT -- REGRESSIVE THEORY DEVELOPMENT -- 5.5 Further reading -- 6 The art of measurement and experiment -- Summary -- 6.1 Introduction -- 6.2 Principles of measurement for new concepts -- PRINCIPLES OF MEASUREMENT FOR NEW CONCEPTS -- 6.3 Experimental analysis of ecological systems -- EXPERIMENT -- SYSTEM -- CLOSED SYSTEM -- OPEN SYSTEM -- EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS OF ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS -- RESPONSE-LEVEL EXPERIMENT -- 6.4 Planning an analytical experiment: An example - control of photosynthesis rate of Pinus strobus trees -- 6.4.1 Results from an improved measurement technique -- 6.4.2 Observing an anomaly -- 6.4.3 Making a conceptual analysis of the problem -- 6.4.4 Constructing multiple postulates -- 6.4.5 Choosing a postulate to study -- BOLD POSTULATE -- FALSIFICATION -- 6.4.6 Defining the experimental conditions -- Data statement: Part One. Define the scientific procedure to be used in investigating the postulate -- 6.4.7 Developing a measurement -- Data statement: Part Two. Specify the measurement for each concept of the postulate -- 6.4.8 Designing treatment application, replication, and controls -- Data statement: Part Three. Specifies the requirements of the data for any statistical test to be applied -- EXPERIMENTAL UNIT -- MEASUREMENT UNIT -- TREATMENT -- REPLICATE -- CONTROLLED ANALYTICAL EXPERIMENT. STRATIFICATION -- PSEUDOREPLICATION -- 1. Control against ambient variation -- CONTROL PROCEDURE -- 2. Control treatments to estimate non-treatment effects of the experimental procedure -- TREATMENT CONTROL -- 6.4.9 Investigating ancillary processes to aid interpretation and assessment -- 6.5 Whole-system analytical experiments -- SYNTHETIC CONSTRUCTION -- 6.6 Discussion -- 6.7 Further reading -- 7 Methods of reasoning in research -- Summary -- 7.1 Introduction -- 7.2 Principles of propositional logic -- DEDUCATION -- INDUCTION -- 7.3 The use of propositional logic in ecological research -- 7.4 The hypothetico-deductive method and use of falsification in scientific reasoning -- HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE METHOD -- 7.5 An exercise in choosing between postulates expected to be true and postulates expected to be false -- 7.6 How to decide whether to attempt confirmation or falsification -- 7.7 Using contrasts -- CONTRASTIVE QUESTION -- 7.8 Causality -- CAUSATION -- CAUSAL REASONS IN ECOLOGY -- ORGANIZATIONAL REASONS IN ECOLOGY -- DIFFERENCE CONDITION FOR CONTRASTS -- 7.9 A strategy for constructing theory using multiple working postulates -- 7.10 Discussion -- 7.11 Further reading -- 8 Assessment of postulates -- Summary -- 8.1 Introduction -- CONFOUNDING -- BIAS -- STATISTICAL INFERENCE -- 8.2 Refining postulates using exploratory analysis -- EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS -- 8.3 Developing a scientific procedure and set of measurements -- CONFIDENCE IN THE TEST OF STATISTICAL HYPOTHESIS -- POWER OF TEST -- 8.4 Satisfying the logic required for statistical inference -- 8.4.1 Constructing and assessing a statistical hypothesis -- 8.4.2 Completing the data statement -- 8.5 Discussion -- 8.6 Further reading -- 9 Individual philosophies and their methods -- Summary -- 9.1 Introduction -- SCIENTIFIC REALISM -- METAPHYSICS -- 9.2 Initial assumptions -- 9.2.1 Teleology. TELEOLOGY.

Provides a framework for understanding methodological issues and assists with the effective definition and planning of research.

9780511152474


Ecology -- Research -- Methodology.;Science -- Methodology.


Electronic books.

QH541.2 -- .F66 2000eb

577/.07/2