Nature of science - 3.1

Data is the lifeblood of scientists and may be qualitative or quantitative. It can be obtained purely from observations or from specifically designed experiments, remotely using electronic sensors or by direct measurement. The best data for making accurate and precise descriptions and predictions is often quantitative and amenable to mathematical analysis. Scientists analyse data and look for patterns, trends and discrepancies, attempting to discover relationships and establish causal links. This is not always possible, so identifying and classifying observations and artefacts (eg types of galaxies or fossils) is still an important aspect of scientific work.