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Many different approaches and methods are used to build scientific investigations

Key ideas

  • An ‘approach’ may be understood as the type of investigation chosen to answer the question posed, for example a field study or laboratory trial.
  • A ‘method’ is the formal systematic process of carrying out an investigation. For example (in a field study using transects or quadrates), the number of samples recorded, the distance between samples, and so on.

Teacher reflection

  • Why do scientists often use more than one method and/or approach in their scientific investigations?
  • How do scientists decide which approaches and methods are most applicable to particular investigations?
  • Can an investigation that involves only one approach and one method be considered valid? Why or why not?