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Questions in question:

My questions are:

  • Why are these questions subjective? I thought that the scientific method is quite rigid. One can easily based on that to conclude whether a procedure can produce scientific conclusion or not?
  • Even if they are subjective, why wouldn't they be good subjective questions?

According to that article, great subjective questions:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”
  • tend to have long, not short, answers
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references
  • are more than just mindless social fun

Which items these questions are lacking to make them be bad subjective questions? Or maybe they don't invite sharing experiences over opinions and insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references enough?

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I thought that the scientific method is quite rigid

Not sure exactly what you mean by this, but I think it's probably not nearly as rigid as you think (based on inferring from the questions you've asked).

Which items these questions are lacking to make them be bad subjective questions?

For "Is it possible to conduct scientific research without actually getting close to the sample/specimen?", the answer to "is it possible" is a simple yes/no. Getting deeper requires making a list of topics that would and wouldn't be possible to study without first-hand interaction, and even for those there are measures of degree. Is it considered "getting close" if a member of your team/collaborator does the "getting close"? Someone you've never met but who has made data available publicly? Ultimately, the more interesting subjective answers to the question are all about dissecting what the question means, rather than providing an answer. That's not "great subjective" for SE.

Similarly, for "Is it possible to have a scientific review of a method if the author doesn't have direct experience of it?", I can only see answers that are "yes and here's an example" or "no and here's an example". Whether the answer is "yes" or "no" is completely subjective, and a comprehensive answer would just be a list of examples pro and con. It's far too broad and philosophical, and invites me to wonder "what does it even mean to have 'scientific review of a method'?" - I think answers will fall on how they interpret that statement rather than anything about biology or science itself. That's also not really the mark of a "good subjective" question.

As you write in your question, "there are different cases to consider". It's not reasonable to expect answers to comprehensively consider all the possible cases.

Finally, I'd say that the motivation for these questions is pretty opaque. Are you trying to find out if you can do science-at-a-distance? Are you trying to critique certain practices in science and their validity? Are you reaching for a philosophical discussion about the structure of the scientific method?

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  • $\begingroup$ "the more interesting subjective answers to the question are all about dissecting what the question means, rather than providing an answer". I think this really nails it. I think most philosophical activities are just about this. Perhaps for non-philosophers, they are bad subjective questions, but for philosophers, they are good objective ones? These questions aside, can a question whose answers can only be "yes and here's an example" or "no and here's an example" be good subjective? $\endgroup$ – Ooker Dec 22 '20 at 8:29
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Regarding your second post ("Is it possible to have a scientific review of a method if the author doesn't have direct experience of it?")

  • Operationally, yes, anyone can do research on any subject if they have the time, funding, and preferably some background info in what they are doing (or a really good instructional guide). As a result of this overly simplistic and obvious answer, this question carries minimal practicality or relevancy to others (and is therefore not a good fit for our site).

    • In fact, if this is your motive for asking, then your question goes against most (1, 2, 5, and 6) of the bullet points of the "Guidelines for Great Subjective Questions" from The Overflow article you link to.
  • If you are instead asking whether doing so is ethical or otherwise professionally appropriate, then that is at best a philosophical question (off topic on BIO.SE) but vey certainly opinion-based (which is why it was closed as such).

    • Even if you were asking whether it was possible to do a "good" job at performing valid research given the scenarios you provided, the answers once again would at best be opinion-based; however, asking this question in such a broad sense also goes against our site's requirement for questions to be clear and specific. Surely one's ability to study radioisotopes with no knowledge/experience is quite different than counting bird species at a backyard feeder.

Regarding your first post ("Is it possible to conduct scientific research without actually getting close to the sample/specimen?"):

  • First, what do you mean by asking "would my "discovery" be scientific" (i.e., what do you mean by scientific)? The scientific method is quite clear. Any study performed following the method I suppose has the potential to be "scientific" (i.e. scientifically valid) and any study that does not use the scientific study is not scientific.*

    • Because that is a fairly elementary response, I'm assuming you are using scientific in your post to somehow mean "rigorous" or "appropriate" instead. If this is the case, then this would automatically make answers to this post opinion-based.

      (At best, someone might be able to provide valuable support one way or the other, but their response would be focused on one tiny subfield of all of biology and not necessarily meaningful or applicable to scientific biological study in a more general sense. So, ignoring the subjectivity, your post is also too general and needs to be further focused.)

Summary

Your posts are both either asking an elementary question about the scientific method or a question about the acceptability of such studies. The former case means your post is too elementary (wikipedia and other introductory sources explain this adequately) and has little relevancy to other biologists, and the latter case makes your post opinion-based. In either case, your posts are too broad and will likewise receive negative response without further specificity.

Each of these are reasons your post would be downvoted or closed. It's an interesting and valid line of questioning, but it's just not appropriate for our site.


* Note: not all knowledge can be gained through the scientific method. It doesn't mean that info is not valid, but rather that it cannot be empirically studied using the scientific method.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for a detailed answer. What do you think if I reword the questions to "Can research without direct experience with specimen/method follow scientific method?"? Is it less opinion-based? Yes, you can say this is elementary questions, but I want to check my understanding. As for the philosophy part, isn't that any methodological question philosophical by nature? Or is it because the questions aim at a generic specimen/method, then it's "philosophical nature" is denser than questions asking about one specific specimens/methods (e.g. whale, PCR)? $\endgroup$ – Ooker Dec 22 '20 at 8:14

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