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Slide 1 Demystifying science. Slide 2 What is science? The systematic pursuit of knowledge A way to find out true answers to questions Why do we need.

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Presentation on theme: "Slide 1 Demystifying science. Slide 2 What is science? The systematic pursuit of knowledge A way to find out true answers to questions Why do we need."— Presentation transcript:

1 Slide 1 Demystifying science

2 Slide 2 What is science? The systematic pursuit of knowledge A way to find out true answers to questions Why do we need science? Because common sense is often wrong Important questions about science

3 Slide 3 1.Clearly identifying the problem Needs to define what will be tested 2.Formulating a hypothesis Based on observations 3.Testing the hypothesis Need to change one variable only- all other variables must be kept constant Need for a control group Scientific method ?

4 Slide 4 New drug for headache How do we know if it works? Scientific method

5 Slide 5 Science is not always about doing an experiment- scientific observation is crucial Scientific method

6 Slide 6 A scientist wanted to test the effect of talking to his plants on how they grew. He didn't talk to one group of plants, and talked for varying amounts to 3 other groups. After one month, he measured how tall the plants grew. A. What was the experimental variable in this experiment? B. What was the control group? C. What was the data he collected? D. What would be three variables that he would have to control? Scientific method

7 Slide 7 Consensus The Earth is round Theory of evolution by natural selection Human activity contributes to climate change HIV causes AIDs Scientific consensus Uncertainty What will the exact impact of climate change be? What will the next global pandemic be? How big is the universe?

8 Slide 8 Weighting of arguments rate, Wikimedia Commons

9 Slide 9 Scientific publications Primary research paper Peer reviewed Background, methods, results, conclusions Review paper Describes scientific consensus No methods Policy briefing Includes policy implications

10 Slide 10 Quiz Define: Scientific consensus Peer-reviewed Control Group Placebo effect Hypothesis

11 Slide 11 Summary On pieces of paper, write down what the main points you have learnt in this session are e.g. Science is a way to answer questions Scientific method involves defining a question, formulating a hypothesis and testing the hypothesis There are different tiers of science publications Scientists need to publish papers to progress in their careers

12 Slide 12 What are the issues for policy makers? Look at scientific publications What is it? –primary research paper? –review article? –policy briefing/report? Who is it aimed at? Does it reflect scientific consensus? Does it give policy options? Is it easy to understand? How useful is it for policy makers? Example of science publications: Malaria control

13 Slide 13 Science in Africa

14 Slide 14 Science is the [intensive] human effort to understand, or to understand better the history of the natural world and how the natural world works It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or through experimentation And its based on observable physical evidence. What is science?

15 Slide 15 Types of science

16 Slide 16 Individual Benefits Discovery of new things hence increased knowledge Societal Benefits Improve peoples lives Economic Development- e.g. help attain MDGs Humanitys increase control of planet or environment Benefits of science

17 Slide 17 What is Research?. The systematic process of collecting and analyzing information to increase understanding of the phenomenon under study. Broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge Many Special delicacies have one special ingredient Research is the special ingredient that makes science delicious

18 Slide 18 Example: Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust (MLW) What is MLW? Medical Research Programme affiliated to University of Malawi, College of Medicine (the only medical school is Malawi) and funded by The Wellcome Trust, UK When was it established? Established in 1995 originally as a Malaria Project but diversified in 2003 Case study 1: Medical Research in Malawi Example projects HIV testing in children Iron Supplementation for children with HIV Comparison of two new Malaria drugs in children

19 Slide 19 Example: The Fight against Cassava Viruses Cassava is an important staple in many countries. Late 1980s, a new strain of cassava mosaic virus emerged. The Virus was highly powerful and aggressive Result - starvation in some districts of Uganda as many communities lost their principal source of carbohydrates. The government- demanded action. Case study 2: Agricultural Research in Uganda Scientists responded by demonstrating that there was sufficient genetic diversity of cassava plants available for the national cassava breeding programme to mobilise. The outcome was to increase food security in Uganda. Today cassava production is restored to former levels and able to generate a surplus

20 Slide 20 Example: Combating Drug Addiction An estimated 8.5% of Egyptians are addicted to drugs The most commonly used drug is Bango- a type of marijuana- but other drugs including heroin are also used The Center for Social and Criminological Research on Drugs carried out a study to design a national strategy to combat drugs and to provide treatment for drug addicts in Egypt Case study 3: Social Research in Egypt

21 Slide 21 21 Case study 4: Health Policy Research in Ghana Ghana Health Service Research Centres Primarily to generate information for policy consideration –Work closely with programme implementers and policy makers in defining the problem. –Design appropriate research methods for answering the questions –Analyse and report appropriately Facilitate the policy dialogue Monitoring and evaluation of interventions Example projects: –Tobacco Use & Control –Strategies for Health Insurance for Equity in less Developed Countries (SHEILD) in Ghana, South Africa & Tanzania –HIV/AIDS –Malaria and Pneumonia

22 Slide 22 Source: Global Research Report-Africa, Thomson Reuters

23 Slide 23 Research outputGDP Research output/GDP Source: Global Research Report-Africa, Thomson Reuters

24 Slide 24 Lack of sufficient funding Insufficient trained personnel Negative attitude of the public and policy makers towards science in general Lack of trust by communities? Poor infrastructure? Brain drain? Challenges facing scientific research in Africa

25 Slide 25 Goal: developing country specific goals for the advancement of science information in African parliaments Get into groups of approximately 5 Discuss why should we do research in Africa? Discuss what strategy you would like to adopt in promoting knowledge about science in our respective parliaments? Share with the rest of the group Group exercise

26 Slide 26 The presentation is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to modify and use this presentation for non-commercial purposes providing you retain the attribution of all images and credit INASP. For further information please contact

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