• Question: Is your conclusion based on accurate data?

    Asked by Rachaeloxx to George, Francesca on 7 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Francesca Paradisi

      Francesca Paradisi answered on 7 Nov 2014:

      I sure hope so! Sometime we make take the results we get and use them to formulate new hypotheses which appear to be supported by the first results. This is how we progress in our research, we do one (many!) experiment, see what the outcome is, and plan the next one base on that result.
      Very often experiments need to be repeated a few times to make sure the results are real and not just an accident!

    • Photo: George Dowson

      George Dowson answered on 8 Nov 2014:

      It depends what you mean by conclusion and what you mean by accurate!
      Science is not about being certain about anything because even the greatest laws we have devised could be disproven by one well-designed experiment breaking that law!
      This means that as a scientist you can only be confident in the results you have, so “certainty” and “conclusion” are tricky concepts when it comes to science.
      This confidence must come from a well-designed experiment, repeatability and predictability plus knowing what would prove you wrong!
      Any “conclusions” that I have must tick all those boxes and even then all I can really say is “This is what my experiments show and this is how I interpret the data”. If someone shows me a better explanation, and a way to test it, I would have to do so in order to remain convinced of my position!