In today’s world the ordinary person enjoys a standard of living
that medieval kings could not have dreamt of. This lesson deals
with the process of Research and Development (R&D) which
provides the products that make this possible.
Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.
Pure and Applied Research
Research is the process of increasing the stock of knowledge through creative thinking and experimental validation. Pure research (i.e. basic or fundamental research) is research carried out to increase understanding of fundamental principles. It does not have a direct commercial purpose. Pure research is mainly carried out by universities or academic institutes, such as the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Applied Research uses similar scientific techniques but with a specific practical, commercial, military, or other purpose.
The development of useful knowledge was accelerated by the introduction of the scientific method. In pre-scientific periods knowledge was either a matter of observation (such as Aristotelian anatomical knowledge), philosophical reflection (such as the ideas of Plato) or logical deduction (such as mathematical or geometric reasoning where some stated axioms can form the basis for elaborate theorems providing amazing insights into how the universe works). Scientific Method introduces a process that ensures that the knowledge we claim is valid...
“Pure research” does not involve experimentation.
“Applied research” may be less rigorous than pure research.
Logical deduction is a form of scientific method.
A hypothesis is a way of asking a question.
The scientific method includes making predictions.
A scientific discovery can be once off and not repeatable.
Drugs are seldom tested on animals before humans.
A placebo has no effect.
A “double blind” experiment means you have two groups of subjects.
The control group is given the drug to be tested.
Phase 1 testing is for safety and phase 2 for effectiveness.
It is most unusual for the development of a drug to take more than two years.
Glossary of terms
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
the use of non-human animals in experiments
is a form of systematic inquiry involving the practical application of science.
the failure of an organism in recognizing its own constituent parts as self, thus leading to an immune response against its own cells and tissues.
Science and Technology in Action (STA) is designed to support the teaching and learning of science and related subjects.
Each annual edition of STA contains a set of lessons that are industry led to be used by all teachers in second level schools. These lessons are available on this website and can be downloaded in a pdf format along with their supporting materials.
A hard copy is usually sent out for free to all second level schools each school year.
Science and Technology in Action (STA) is proudly supported and partnered by some of Ireland’s leading organisations and is produced in close cooperation with the support services of the Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA).