Asking Testable Scientific Questions

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Questions can be divided into two categories: Causal and Existence. Scientists ask causal questions when trying to understand the world.


Causal Questions are Testable.

Existence Questions (Not great in science…)

Testable questions begin with: How, What, If, Does and I Wonder. These questions can be addressed through scientific experiments. Scientifically testable questions are centered on objects and phenomena in the natural world. In an experiment, one variable is changed and a second variable is measured in response.

Existence questions usually begin with “Why” and they generally require recall of factual information.



Testable Questions…

v    ask about objects, organisms, and events in the natural world.

v    can be answered through investigations that involve experiments, observations, or surveys.

v    are answered by collecting and analyzing evidence that is measurable.

v    relate to scientific ideas rather than personal preference or moral values.

v    do not relate to the supernatural or to nonmeasurable phenomena.


Keep in mind that true cause and effect is very difficult to prove. In fact, scientists often employ statistical methods to show cause and effect.




Making  Tables and Graphs