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#950630 - Wed Nov 21 2012 02:00 AM What counts as Science?
zippolover Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Fri Nov 16 2012
Posts: 5717
Loc: Norfolk UK
What counts as Science? (For the purposes of FT quizzes, of course!)

Having written a quiz that two Science editors both admitted was about Science, but had to move it to General, Thematics as it stood, this is a serious question.

The quiz was an attempt at an easy General Science quiz, but as no detailed Science knowledge was required to answer the questions according to the editor, it was rejected.

Such an elitist attitude could be why there are so few quizzes in the Science category. The editors in other categories encourage "easy" quizzes, no doubt to pull more quizzers into the category.

What is so special about "Science"?

What counts as Science?
I changed my mind again...

#950631 - Wed Nov 21 2012 02:33 AM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: zippolover]
WesleyCrusher Offline


Registered: Thu Sep 04 2008
Posts: 4413
Loc: Germany
I think you have misunderstood our messages a bit. Your quiz was science-themed but not truly "about science". In the end, the categorization of a quiz depends on the knowledge you need to answer the questions.

Here are two questions, inspired by one that you wrote:


Q1: Forensic science is a fascinating field and applies knowledge from physics, biology and chemistry to solving crimes. Set in Florida and starring David Caruso, which television series has done great things for popularizing this field?

Q2: In "Star Trek: The Next Generation"'s second season, Doctor Pulaski used a stasis field to conserve tissues for later examination. More conventionally, she could also have used a liquid with the formula CH2O - what is its name?

Superficially, Q1 looks like a science question and Q2 like a television one, but in reality it is the exact other way around. Here are the questions again, stripped down to their essence (the information that you actually get for answering them):


Q1a: Which of the following TV series is set in Florida, concentrates on forensic science and starred David Caruso?

Q2a: Which liquid, used to preserve tissues in biology, has the chemical formula CH2O?

Q1a is clearly a television question. Q1 is the very same question, but with additional text that themes it as science. You are putting the TV question into a science "story". It could be part of a quiz called "A scientist's television lineup" where you explore the portrayal of various sciences on TV.

Q2a is a science question, Q2 is the same question themed towards "Star Trek". It could be part of a Sci/Tech quiz that looks at real-life equivalents for some sci-fi solutions that "Star Trek" characters have used.

Bottom line: FunTrivia questions are classified by their core - what is the knowledge actually being tested - not by their outward theme.

If you want to make sure your questions fall in the right category, you can use a bottom up approach. First think of a plain fact in the field you want to write about, then wrap that fact in your desired theme. Let's say you want to do something on chemical compounds and formulas, so we will want to have a chemical formula and the material as the core of each question.

You come up with the fact that SiO2 is the main component of glass. Now you want to put that into the "Gifts from your mother" context that you tried to use for your quiz.

"For my last birthday, my mother gave me the four gifts listed below. One of them was extremely carefully wrapped because, mostly made of the compound SiO2, it was quite fragile. Which one was it?"

Answers: A glass figurine (correct), a brass ornament, a nacre mobile, a wooden carving

I hope this explains it!


Edited by WesleyCrusher (Wed Nov 21 2012 02:36 AM)
FunTrivia Editor (Hobbies and Sci/Tech) and Administrator
Guardian of the Tower

#950634 - Wed Nov 21 2012 04:38 AM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: WesleyCrusher]
rossian Offline

Registered: Sat Jun 10 2006
Posts: 2219
Loc: Merseyside UK 
I struggle with the Science category, because I have no background. I've stuck to writing about diseases, because they fit and are reasonably easy to research.

Great explanation, Wes. You've set that out clearly and very helpfully.
Editor - Sci/Tech

#950662 - Wed Nov 21 2012 09:14 AM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: rossian]
salami_swami Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Thu Nov 01 2007
Posts: 8760
Loc: Colorado USA
Thanks for that, Wes. This should help even us older authors categorize things correctly in any category. That was very helpful information. smile
"The only water in the forest is the River."

Editor: Video Games, Entertainment

#950665 - Wed Nov 21 2012 09:52 AM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: salami_swami]
zippolover Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Fri Nov 16 2012
Posts: 5717
Loc: Norfolk UK
Thank you,I will have a ponder.

I will have a ponder
I changed my mind again...

#950791 - Wed Nov 21 2012 08:15 PM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: zippolover]
Lones78 Offline

Registered: Mon Apr 27 2009
Posts: 1420
Loc: Forrestfield Western Australia
Wow Wes - you really know how to explain things to people smile That has just opened up a whole new view on Sci/Tech for me - thanks!
In the process of thinking up something deep and meaningful to have as a signature line... grin

#952077 - Tue Nov 27 2012 09:17 PM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: Lones78]
shuehorn Offline

Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 3293
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia USA     
Amen, what a great tutorial on what makes things science and how to identify the core of a question.
Sue (shuehorn)

#952082 - Tue Nov 27 2012 09:51 PM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: shuehorn]
gracious1 Offline

Registered: Tue May 01 2012
Posts: 957
Loc: New York USA
Yes, that is fantastic. A great help in writing an informative and entertaining sci/tech quiz!

#952086 - Tue Nov 27 2012 10:35 PM Re: What counts as Science? [Re: gracious1]
joecali Offline
Forum Adept

Registered: Thu May 07 2009
Posts: 139
Loc: Cali Colombia            
it's a fantastic guide wes. Thank you.


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