Science & Technology in Action

8th Edition

Research and Development – How We Live Like Kings

Teva Ireland

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.
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Lesson excerpt

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.

Scientific Method
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...

True or False?

  1. “Pure research” does not involve experimentation. false
  2. “Applied research” may be less rigorous than pure research. true
  3. Logical deduction is a form of scientific method. false
  4. A hypothesis is a way of asking a question. false
  5. The scientific method includes making predictions. true
  6. A scientific discovery can be once off and not repeatable. false
  7. Drugs are seldom tested on animals before humans. false
  8. A placebo has no effect. true
  9. A “double blind” experiment means you have two groups of subjects. false
  10. The control group is given the drug to be tested. false
  11. Phase 1 testing is for safety and phase 2 for effectiveness. true
  12. It is most unusual for the development of a drug to take more than two years. false

Glossary of terms

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
animal testing
the use of non-human animals in experiments
applied research
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.
a premise or starting point of reasoning.