Designing an experiment is the 'art of science' because it involves imagination and creativity. There is no one correct way to answer an ecological question. However, designing experiments also requires pragmatism. When an ecologist is interested in a specific ecological phenomenon, there is much work required to plan and design the experimental methodology. Lack of planning results in unusable data. There is a trade-off between the various types of controlled greenhouse-type experiments and field experiments. In the former, most environmental variables can be tightly controlled so it is possible to ask specific questions about ecological mechanisms. On the other hand, the observed mechanisms may not be important under real conditions. Often the best evidence comes when a variety of approaches are used to answer a question.
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