Case Studies

The Scientific Method

Anyone who has taken a science class has seen the scientific method described as a series of steps something like this:

  • ask a question
  • formulate an hypothesis
  • perform an experiment
  • collect data
  • draw conclusions

This is a convenient and straightforward list. It’s particularly useful to summarize how science was done for presentation in journal articles and textbooks. Unfortunately, it implies that the purpose of science is to conclude. The process of science is much more creative, interactive, and dynamic that that!

Understanding Science

Science is centered on asking questions and testing ideas as shown in this diagram. Doing science can involve all sorts of inputs you might not associate with scientific research, such as curiosity or even serendipity – a happy accident or pleasant surprise.


Learn More!

  • Visit Berkeley’s Understanding Science website for an interactive version of the real process of science, illustrated in the figure above.
  • Read about model systems in order to understand more of RMBL’s natural history.
  • Delve deeper into RMBL Science by exploring a variety of highlighted research areas.
  • Explore the different plants and animals that are important research subjects and components of the RMBL ecosystem.