From small they teach us to develop scientific projects. It is true that they do not have the same impact or scope as the professional ones, but even so they already constitute a first approach to what is called the scientific method, as well as its phases and development.
The substantial difference of launching a project of this type in the school environment is that it deals with routine, simple issues and that, in a certain way, are already known to us. On the other hand, when developing them in the professional field, research and inquiry are used in depth: knowledge is created and these can generate new conceptions and paradigms.
Importance of a scientific project. What does it depend on?
In general, sciences enjoy a majority acceptance in societies. They are the preferred disciplines when it comes to studies or specializations. Among them, those that occupy the first places are different engineering, economics, accounting, statistics and business management.
In a second line are others that do not necessarily have their roots in the scientific method, such as medicine, biology, astronomy, geology or anthropology. The importance of scientific projects is not always the same, although all are based on the five basic steps of the scientific method. According to what aspects does this importance vary? Let’s see some of them:
Context: a scientific project such as the investigation of a vaccine does not have the same importance as another that seeks to define the different types of nectar found in the flowers of the Peruvian Amazon. Or at least, not if we stick to the urgent nature that can generate in their environment. What about flowers will undoubtedly be a great contribution for botany and ecology; but, in a context of health crisis, the first project will be the priority.
Level of team experience: the most experienced teams are usually in charge of the most complex projects. Their experience is proportional to the tasks entrusted to them, and from this it is also possible to measure the importance of scientific initiatives.
Impact: not all projects affect equally. Some do it based on the number of people it is addressed to; others, to the benefits that it obtains in a specific space. However, it is not so much about how many people they affect, but rather whether they have fulfilled the expectations set. There are large projects that were not too important, while others of a local nature became benchmarks in their sector.
Scientific projects: other factors of importance
Once these three aspects are defined, let’s return to a more generic approach and point out other elements that, although they are proposed as benefits, can also give us some clues to measure the importance of scientific projects:
They provide a practical approach to the theory. The hypotheses are taken to the pragmatic terrain, either by demonstration or by refutation.
They stimulate interest in knowledge. The doubts that arise are only satisfied when the investigative process is undertaken.
In almost all cases, they involve discoveries. A good number of these projects has been the origin of great discoveries for society, from the smallest to the most complex.
It improves the quality of life of people. The conclusions drawn are usually very useful for the environments in which projects of this type are developed. It’s not just discovering; is discover and apply.