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How Science Works

Errors and Anomalous Values.

Errors are always there in scientific data.
A good scientist will make the errors as small as possible.

Errors are described as random or systematic.

Random errors can be caused by a scientist not taking
enough care when making measurements.
This type of error produces data which does not have
enough accuracy or precision to provide good evidence.

Systematic errors can be caused by a scientist not
understanding a technique and therefore using it incorrectly,
or by an instrument that has been badly calibrated.
Instruments are calibrated to make their measurements accurate.
Systematic errors can produce data which may be precise
but does not have enough accuracy to provide good evidence.

Sometimes there will be one measurement which produces
a value that is clearly different from all the others.
This value is called an outlier and is said to be anomalous.
An outlier is well outside of the range of the
other values and is not included as valid because
it would lead to an incorrect conclusion.
A good scientist will try to explain what caused the
anomalous value so that it can be avoided in the future.

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