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MG21 Virtual Library

Experimental Design: Asking science...

Asking Science



Related Guides

Forming Scientific Questions (UCBerkley)

How to Ask the Right Questions? (ScienceNordic)
Use scientific questioning skills in your everyday life. Learn how here.

Asking Essential Questions
Getting started with your research

Scientific Questioning
Driven by the question

What is a scientific question?

 have real but unknown answers 

 seek to clarify or expand existing knowledge

 are testable and repeatable


  1. Don't just pick a topic. Focus in on an problem or idea that interests you. 
  2. Brainstorm several questions you have or others may have related to your area of focus.  
  3. Eliminate any of the questions that can't be answered through direct observation or by gathering evidence.  
  4. Rethink broad questions.  Break them into smaller questions that could be investigated one at a time (through a series of experiments).
  5. Rewrite remaining questions to that they can be answered through experimentation.  Your questions could:
  • seek to clarify existing information
  • identify relationships 
  • refine a model
  • challenge a premise or theory
  • address a design problem in existing research
  • add new information to our understanding of a problem.

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