Welcome to Exploring Databases!
Exploring Databases immerses high school students in conducting authentic research on smoking behavior using a scientific database. Through their participation in the project, students learn about genetics and neuroscience, develop skills in formulating and testing hypotheses and applying scientific reasoning, and use information and communication technology. Exploring Databases builds on a previous science education project, in which students designed and conducted aspects of an epidemiological study of smoking behavior, in conjunction with scientists and teachers. The smoking behavior research study collected genetic and environmental data from nearly 300 adult smokers and nonsmokers. In Exploring Databases, students use the database to answer their own research questions about factors that affect smoking behavior.
Step1.1: Subject-classification and Matching Questions (Lesson 2 & 4)
These questions were used to classify research subjects as cases or controls (shown in red), determine a score for level of nicotine addiction of case subjects (shown in blue), and collect information about characteristics used to match cases and controls (i.e. make sure that the two groups have similar distributions for these characteristics).
Step1.2: Graphical Data for Q 19 (Lesson 5)
This page shows the raw data for Q19. “During your experimental smoking phase, did you believe that smoking cigarettes could be harmful to your health?” This data is used to elicit ideas from students about how to analyze the data mathematically. For other questions, students do not see the raw data prior to developing and testing their hypotheses.
Step1.3: Hypothesis Testing (Lesson 6)
During Hypothesis Testing, students propose a specific hypothesis about smoking that is testable using a question the database. On this page, students access the question of interest, enter their hypothesis and the specific parameters of their query, and then submit their query. The odds ratio and 95% confidence interval are calculated by the database program and provided on a new page. Students are prompted to interpret the data by answering several questions.
Step1.4: Hypothesis Generation (Lesson 7)
Students “mine” the data in order to generate a hypothesis that could be tested in a hypothetical new research study. In this view, they are able to look at the raw data for all questions in order to observe trends in the data.