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When scientists carry out investigations they aim to collect adequate data

Key ideas

  • ‘Adequate data’ can be used to create a convincing case in support of the proposed scientific explanation (when subject to peer review).


Collecting adequate data may require that the same investigation be repeated a sufficient number of times in order to reduce the likelihood of error, or that different types of investigation are carried out.

In principle any science explanation may be called into question either through a new technique that changes the quality of observation possible or in light of an alternative theory that is supported by a more convincing case.

Teacher reflection

  • How do scientists decide how much data is adequate?
  • If scientists gather inadequate data, what can happen?
  • What might limit the amount of data that scientists can gather?
  • Should scientists modify investigations to ensure that they can gather an adequate amount of data? Why or why not?
  • Why might scientists take samples rather than counting or measuring everything?