The Scientific Method of Nest Building

A structured way of living and getting things done seems a bit morbid and repetitive at times. We all get random kicks and urges to do something adventurous and radical. There’s nothing wrong about it. But –

Study proves that if one wants to finish their task in time and waste as less time as possible, a set way of completing those tasks will surely help them navigate their way through the given work and get it done with extra precision as well.

The same logic works like a charm in concluding an experiment. Scientific experiments call for undivided attention, top-notch accuracy and extensive analysis. Let’s see how one can reach a desirable conclusion by following a systematic way of putting a tick next to the check-box of experiments – scientific methods.

Most of you must have seen small beautiful nests of birds, and you would have instantly complimented the intricacy and dedication with which these little birdies build their nests. Let’s try to relate to the process of building a nest and compare it with the scientific methods that are generally applied to carry out different tests.

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Flap your wings and look around – Empirical Observations

Birds are very cautious when it comes to building their nest in a spot that will be safe and with abundant food and cover. After intense scrutiny and careful observation, birds find a good enough place to build their nest and call it their home for the days to come. Without these preliminary observations, their nest will be in continuous danger.

Now, compare this to scientific experiments. Without a thorough exploration, one cannot even form a hypothesis.

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I tweet, therefore I am : Hypothesis building

The birdie has now realized that it needs to build a nest within the framework of the spot chosen and resources available. It now “tweets and tweets” on how to go about this task! There are certain parameters to be thought about here: the height of the nest from the ground, the optimum shape of the nest to hold the birdie’s babies, the materials used in the nest and so on and so forth.

In an experiment conducted by any researcher, the same framework of parameters is applied, with a different context. The researcher needs to think and visualize their experimental set-up. They need to think of anything that can go wrong, and hence need to be prepared for troubleshooting at every step of the experiment.

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Count it right and lay it straight – Reproducible Experiments and Precise Formulation

After a million visits to the nearest tree, the birds are finally able to collect durable twigs and green leaves that will provide stability and safety to their small nests. They have to be very picky about the raw material that they choose to make their home. If it ever gets destroyed, may it be due to natural causes or man-made activities, they should be able to build it again. They have to be adaptive and flexible. It’s interesting how birds of the same species build similar nests.

Again, compare this to scientific experiments. Say, a scientist has to perform a titration test to figure out the concentration of a chemical. Fortunately, the blueprint for performing a titration test is universal and is applicable to various substances. Titration is easily replicable. Similarly, when scientists use their observations in building a hypothesis, they have to come up with experiments that can be performed by others to get the same results.

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How does it look, birdie? – Transitional Results

The nest is finally ready for a crash test. It will either break or sustain. If it breaks, the result can be changed by building the nest again or weaving in more strands so that it gains more strength.

Repeat the comparison process. Results should be provisional. It all depends upon observations and experiments that are carried out which subsequently yield the result. At times, results are not entirely desirable. In such cases, one has to resort to redoing the entire experiment or checking a few primary observations. In some cases, the original hypothesis may need to be modified to attain the desired results.

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D Day: Conclusion

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The nest is finally ready! The bird can now lay its eggs safely, and we as an audience can watch enthralled as the little birdies poke their heads out many weeks later!

At the end of every scientific venture, we draw a conclusion as to what we learnt from the experiment. This conclusion may not always prove to be path-breaking, but like every bird’s nest, which gives rise to new life on this planet, every scientific piece of work is a step forward in progress of humanity. Other researchers can base their research on this conclusion, and explore new avenues in the field.

In conclusion to this article, all we’d like to say is that science is nothing but building a bird’s nest! (That, and flying rockets;)

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All the photographs used in this article have been clicked by Anushree Krishnamurthy. 

Writers:

Luminaa Anandh
Urja Kuber
Urja Kuber
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