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Scientific Methods: Test Your Understanding + ward ' s science What is the purpose of a control group in a scientific experiment? Because the control group is not exposed to the variable being tested, it therefore cannot influence the experimental results. Thus, a control group serves as a standard for measuring experimental effects in the test group. What is the next step in a scientific method if test results are conclusive? If scientific test results are conclusive, the next step is to compare those results to the hypothesis in order to accept, modify, or reject the hypothesis. Critical Thinking: Can a scientific method be used to prove with no uncertainty that something is and always will be true? Why or why not? Sample answer: A scientific method can only determine if a hypothesis is correct to some degree of confidence, contingent on certain assumptions. The possibility always exists that future research or new information could disprove any hypothesis at a later time. Critical Thinking: Describe some complications that may make it difficult to apply rigorous scientific methods to studies in the social sciences. Sample answer: Social sciences, such as psychology and sociology, frequently involve human subjects, whose great variation in thought processes and experiences can make it difficult to standardize the ex- perimental protocols. Moreover, some types of experiments cannot be performed ethically on people.

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