Talk:Scientific control

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I've copied this from the Scientific method article. I feel users will want to find out about Scientific control without necessarily reading the whole Scientific method article. At the same time readers of the Scientific method article will want to know about Scientific control. Is this duplication acceptable? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Barbara Shack (talkcontribs)

Duplicating content is bad. It should be in one place or another, but not two places at once. — Omegatron 14:58, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I think the topics on this page - positive and negative control - most naturally belong with experiment or experimental control, not scientific method. These controls are features of (some) experiments which are steps in the scientific method. SJS1971 00:28, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Addendum: currently there is a standalone positive control page, whereas negative control redirects here. This at a minimum should be altered, right? SJS1971 00:30, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

So, I look up negative control, and I'm brought to here. However, this is nothing to do with the negative control I'm looking for (in my case, it's more to do with microbiology). Perhaps there should be a disambig page sometime in the future. I'm rather dissapointed =(.--AtomicCactus 19:38, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Article is Not Right - Controls Are Not A Part of Scientific Experiments[edit]

Controls are used for experiments which cannot be carried out scientifically. In a scientific experiment outcome Y is tested for applying factor X. All else is kept equal - so you always see outcome Y when X is applied and never see Y when X is not applied.

In biological systems this is normally impossible except say for bench testing on single identical pure cell lines. Sometimes Y will occur when X is applied, sometimes not and Y may occur when X is not applied.

So in order to tell whether X might cause Y sometimes you need controls - something to compare to see if X makes any difference compared to what is normally seen. But that is not science according to the scientific method for many reasons - the prime one being that if Y does not occur when X is applied then the hypothesis X causes Y is falsified - even if sometimes Y might occur.

You end up with a probability that Y might happen when X is present so you cannot tell when Y will occur or that it might sometimes and not other times. So there is fundamental uncertainty: (talk) 08:35, 13 November 2012 (UTC)


one is controled group? what is the name for the other group? i would say the article is ill-organized(not)since my question was not adressed in the book of the world record. Jackzhp 19:36, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

The name for the other group is the "treatment" group. I'll add to the article-- good suggestion.Jeremy Tobacman 15:05, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


Big Words?[edit]

Okay, I'm smart and all but there are still many words that have not been added to my current vocabulary. I probably shouldn't be complaining about such things but it makes me think about my classmates who have a hard time understanding the supposed "big words" in my speech. So if even I can't understand this article very well how are my fellow classmates supposed to? I'm not saying we should make the article idiot-proof or anything, but possibly just tone down the level of vocabulary a bit. Sorry if this is un-necessary confilct that I am causing. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:16, August 22, 2007 (UTC)

You can create a simplified version of the article if you want if you know what you are doing. Academic articles on wikipedia usually use higher level vocabulary than basic school textbooks but the vocabulary does technically make the article more complete. A simplified version would be more accessible while this version gives a firm grip to educated adults and students. As an encyclopedia however, this version will take precedent, so don't make major edits to the article with the purpose of using smaller words.
On the other side, I believe any intelligent individual will understand what a scientific control is based solely on the current first paragraph of the "Necessity of controls" section. 00:35, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

It helps to know how old you are in this sort of case. Wikipedia is never going to be suitable for all readers, especially the very young ones. There is the Simple English Wikipedia and the possibility of including external links to simpler explanations, but it will generally be aimed at the educated adult. Richard001 04:53, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

In my opinion it isn't the vocabulary used in the 1st section which makes it a little difficult to comprehend, but the length. In an opening paragraph, two or three sentences should give a basic overview, in this article you have to read the first section before it makes sense, I vote to keep the vocabulary, but make the original statements more concise. something like:

In an ideal controlled experiment, two identical experiments are performed. Of these two experiments, one must test the variable in question and the other must omit the variable. These experiments are called the 'Treatment' and the 'Control' respectively.

The practical example definitely needs separating from the 1st paragraph as well. Conairh (talk) 22:34, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I think I can relate. I understand what controls are so for me this article is no problem. But the first paragraph says what controls are part of and what they are intend to resolve without really saying dead-on what they are. ~huggie


I never really got my answer of what a control really is. Maybe the article tells, but if it does, I couldn't spot it. It should be improved by someone who knows this subject really well.Wireless Keyboard ♪♫ : Chat 00:35, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

A better explanation is located on Experiment[edit]

Hey all. I too was confused by the convoluted explanations on this page. I find that the Controlled Experiments section of Experiment explains it a lot clearer. While I am in the process of transplanting some of that information onto this page, you can refer to that other page for now. Foscoe (talk) 21:07, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Various definitions of control[edit]

Me again. Something that I find problematic with this page, other than the fact that it is confusing to newcomers, is that there is so much more to the definition of experimental control than what is listed on this page. The current page sort of adequately describes the concept of control GROUPS in comparison to treatment groups, but only very lightly touches upon other aspects of control (as used in fields other than the traditional laboratory setting, such as epidemiology) that could use more in-depth and intuitive explanation: randomization as a way to control, the concept of controlling for confounding variables through statistical analysis, and the use of control in observational studies. I am not a study design expert, so anyone who can fill this vacuum of knowledge, please help! Foscoe (talk) 21:07, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Introduction needs to be re-written[edit]

"When performing an experiment creating a unchanged and normal specimen."

There are too many gramatical errors in that sentence to decipher what it's trying to say.

Jess4less (talk) 22:40, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Raymond Kertezc[edit]

The page was deleted and redirects here, but no mention of Raymond Kertezc is made in the article. ObsequiousNewt (talk) 21:51, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

unsourced description[edit]

Sunrise restored content I had deleted (and which another editor had brought back, and I had deleted again).... I am unhappy with this b/c it is not sourced. I think the content is actually pretty good and encyclopedic with the exception of being unsourced. It is kind of "sky is blue" material for scientists, but the lack of sourcing makes me uncomfortable. But I am OK with leaving it, especially now that it has been "blessed" by sunrise. Jytdog (talk) 22:48, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Well, please don't treat me as having the final word on anything. :-) The idea is that we shouldn't remove unsourced content unless we have reason to doubt it - the standard for inclusion in WP is verifiable, not verified (the quote from WP:V is that we need citations when content is "challenged or likely to be challenged"). If anyone does want to challenge it, then of course WP:V requires that it not be returned without sourcing. Sunrise (talk) 23:10, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
(Added for clarity) Of course MEDRS and BLP statements are major exceptions to this, but neither of those apply here. Sunrise (talk) 23:24, 28 January 2015 (UTC)