Microgravity: living on the International Space Station
Microgravity: living on the International Space Station

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Microgravity: living on the International Space Station

6 Is there a difference between ‘good science’ and ‘bad science’?

To answer this question, you first need to consider the scientific method. This approach is shown in Figure 5. You start at number one by defining the question. Then you go through options two to seven clockwise. If your observations don’t support your hypothesis then you leave at stage six and return to the experimental stage. Even if your hypothesis is supported by your observations, a good scientist will continue to seek further opportunities to disprove the hypothesis.

Described image
Figure 5 The scientific method.

Table 2 summarises what qualifies as ‘good science’ and ‘bad science’.

Table 2 Good and bad science

Good science Bad science
Asking the right questions Asking the wrong kind of question
Too narrow a question
Too broad a question
Vague terminology
Only looking where you predict you will see something
Influencing the results of an experiment
Clarifying risks  
Complying with ethical standards Ignoring ethical guidelines
Complying with moral standards Uninformed consent
Using volunteers for clinical trials Not allowing participants to withdraw from a clinical trial

So ‘good science’ contrasts to ‘bad science’ by approaching a problem with an open mind and ensuring that established standards are complied with. You should now complete the end-of-week quiz.

MG_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus