Most biological studies investigate a particular research question
that arises within a major theoretical framework. In such studies,
theory and evidence working in close association. To better understand
this, let's consider the research question:
Are athletics detrimental or beneficial?
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, many people began participating
in competitive athletics, including team sports and racing. Many
scientists and physicians felt that while moderate exercise was
beneficial, the intense exercise of athletics was detrimental to
human health. Many specific facts supported this view. For example,
it was observed that athletes had "swollen" hearts. There
were even recorded incidences of athletes dying while in competition.
Thus, a theory that intense exercise was detrimental began to develop.
Theoretical frameworks allow scientists to develop specific research
questions that investigate the effects of exercise. For example,
the mechanism of the development of an enlarged heart in athletes
might be explored. The results of these studies will contribute
to the cumulative evidence and may lead scientists to modify or
even overturn the major theory.