Research methods in biology

A method is a way of research that a scientist goes through when solving a scientific problem or problem.
The scientific method is a set of techniques and operations used to build a system of scientific knowledge.

Methods common to all biological sciences: descriptive, comparative, historical and experimental.

Descriptive method. It is based on observation. This method was used by ancient scientists who collected and studied various living organisms; it is still used today (for example, when a new species is found).

Observation is a method by which a researcher collects information about an object (perception of natural objects with the help of the senses).

Example: You can observe visually, for example, the behavior of animals. It is possible to observe with the help of devices the changes occurring in living objects: for example, when taking a cardiogram during the day, when measuring the weight of a calf during a month. You can observe seasonal changes in nature, the molting of animals, etc. The conclusions made by the observer are verified either by repeated observations or experimentally.

  • The comparative method began to be used in the 17th century. This method made it possible to systematize living organisms based on a comparison of their external and internal structure. In modern science, the comparative method is also widely used.
  • The historical method is the establishment of relationships between facts, processes, phenomena that have occurred over a historically long time (several billion years). In biology, this method began to be used in the second half of the 19th century. The historical method gave biologists the opportunity not only to deal with the description of biological phenomena, but also made it possible to explain the origin and development of living systems.
  • The experimental method is the acquisition of new knowledge (study of the phenomenon) with the help of the set experience.
    Experiment is a research method in biology in which the experimenter deliberately changes conditions and observes how they affect living organisms. The experiment can be carried out both in the laboratory and in the open air.

The experimental method began to be applied in his studies in the study of blood circulation by William Harvey (1578–1657), and he began to be widely used in biology (in the study of physiological processes) in the 19th century. G. Mendel, studying heredity and variability of organisms, was the first to use the experiment not only to obtain data on the phenomena under study, but also to test the hypothesis formulated on the basis of the results obtained. In the XX century, thanks to the emergence of new instruments for biological research (electron microscope, tomograph, etc.), the experimental method became the leading one in biology.

Modeling, that is, a research method based on the construction and study of models, also finds application in modern biology (with the help of computer modeling, the mechanisms and direction of evolution, the patterns of development of ecosystems and the biosphere are studied).

Biology is divided into many special sciences that study various biological objects: plant and animal biology, plant physiology, morphology, genetics, taxonomy, breeding, mycology, helminthology and many other sciences. Therefore, along with general biological methods, methods are distinguished that are used by private biological sciences:

  • genetics is a genealogical method of studying genealogy,
  • breeding is a hybridization method,
  • histology – tissue culture method, etc.

A scientific fact is a form of scientific knowledge in which some specific phenomenon, event is recorded; the result of observations and experiments, which establishes the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of objects.

Hypothesis – guess or guess; a statement that presupposes a proof, in contrast to axioms, postulates that do not require proof.

Theory is the most developed form of organization of scientific knowledge, giving a holistic view of the laws and essential connections of a certain area of ​​reality; doctrine, a system of ideas or principles, is a set of generalized provisions that form a science or its section.

Remember: The process of learning a person lasts a lifetime. The value of the same knowledge for different people may be different, it is determined by their individual characteristics and needs. Therefore, knowledge is always needed at any age and position.