alternative hypotheses or hypothesis - Another possible
explanation for the results.
bias - Someone or something in a study that ignores a confounding
variable. This introduces error into the results of a study.
blind study or double blind - A scientific study
in which the subjects do not know whether they are receiving an
experimental treatment or a placebo. In a double blind study, neither
the researchers nor the subjects are aware of which treatment is
received until after the study is completed.
case studies - Accounts of a doctor's observations and laboratory
results of individual patients, which may lead to new areas of scientific
study. Case studies do not seek to control confounding variables,
do not take into account the variable nature of a disease, do not
establish a method with control and experimental groups, and do
not exhibit other characteristics of a scientific study.
clinical trial - A double blind controlled study that is
characterized by its use of a large sampling of human subjects.
Clinical trials are generally expensive and time-consuming due to
their efforts to control confounding variables, to test alternative
hypotheses, to replicate the study, and to offer evidence for the
effectiveness of a claim.
confounding variable or confusing factor - A factor
or variable in the subjects being studied that introduces error
or skews the results of the study.
control group - In a scientific study, the group of subjects
that serves as the standard to which the experimental group is compared
to determine the effectiveness of a treatment. In a blind study,
the control group is identical to the experimental group, except
the control group would receive a placebo in place of the treatment
or product being tested.
controlled observation - A scientific study that includes
a large sampling of subjects, is screened for confounding variables,
and is divided into control and experimental groups.
experimental group - The group of subjects in a scientific
study that receives a treatment or tests the hypothesis.
peer review - A critical analysis of the scientific study
by other scientists, drawing on the expertise and critical review
of other professionals in the same field of study.
placebo - A procedure or product with no therapeutic value.
Commonly referred to as a "sugar pill." In blind studies, it is
made to look exactly like the product being tested and is given
to the control group so that circumstances of the study can be controlled
and evaluated for effectiveness.
reliability - Something that can be reproduced, and each
time will give the same results.
replicate - To repeat.
sampling or random sampling - Sampling is the method
of choosing a certain number of people from the population you want
to study. Random sampling means that each person in the population
has an equal chance of being selected for the study.
S.E.A.R.C.H. formula - An acronym that represents four steps
of analysis and effectively applies the principles of scientific
thinking. It is credited to the authors Theodore Schick, Jr. and
Lewis Vaughn in their book, How To Think About Weird Things.
side effects - An adverse effect or consequence, that is
not expected or does not produce the desired result of a treatment.
social or cultural practices - Characteristics of a group
validity - Accuracy or truthfulness in regard to a study's