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RE: SciFair judges say "No!" to Paleontology "experiment".



Hmmm...  It's definitely a project.  The question of whether or not it is a
true experiment is sort of a gray area.
In the strictest sense of the word it isn't an experiment, in that tests are
not being run (per se) to test a hypothesis.
It's more collating data.  But, I wasn't aware that a science fair project
had to be an experiment???

Dwight
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Bois [SMTP:jbois@umd5.umd.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 1999 12:58 PM
> To:   dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject:      SciFair judges say "No!" to Paleontology "experiment".
> 
> This is almost hypothetical. 
> Students make a falsifiable hypothesis: "Large, flightless bird diversity
> is impacted by the competency of nest predators."  To test this they do a
> long, difficult review of the literature (these are high school students 
> and they couldn't cope with the volume of material-that's why it's
> hypothetical), run a Spearman's statistical test and find the following:
> There is a correlation between the composition of predatory guilds on land
> masses and the diversity of large flightless birds. I had hoped they would
> find diversity on S.A + Aust. (i.e., on land masses with marsupial
> carnivores was greater than that of Asia + Africa + N. Amer.
> 
> I know correlation is not causation--but it may be support.
> 
> One of our staff members said that such a finding was, in any case, a
> 'project", not an experiment. As such it really wouldn't have deserved a
> place in the Fair.
> 
> I feel this is a too limited definition of "experiment" and would
> appreciate any comments--come to think of it, there is probably something
> in the archives on this.