37Research is meant to find answers about the world around us. Research can be related to any scientific discipline (physics, physiology, biology, archaeology, history, geology and so on). With such a wide range of possible subjects, the methods used vary widely. Research is not an activity for academics and scientists only. Everybody who wonders about some aspect of the world and then takes action to find an explanation is doing research.

The role of non-scientists in research can vary. Divers can assist research efforts by collecting data for scientists, but can just as well develop their own research programme and take responsibility for all the steps involved. Such a project may be related to the condition of a local lake, the relationships between different species on a reef, the interaction between divers and the environment or any other subject that you (are the group of which you are part) are interested in.

This course is meant to provide input on methods used by scientists. Such methods are meant to increase the validity of the findings of research. Although you are not bound by obligations that apply to “official” science, you will still want to have results that are as accurate as possible. The course will also provide input on techniques to measure different aspects of the underwater world. The goal of this part is to provide you with (the start of) a toolbox to do research projects. The minimum age for this course is 12 and you must be a certified diver. The course can be completed in two days.

During the first dive you will collect data for a project that is defined by the instructor. You will then together use the data to make a (simple) report on the findings. You will then be invited to propose your own project. Together with the instructor you will describe your assumption (hypothesis) of the result that you expect and the method how you want to collect data that support your hypothesis. After the (second) dive you will analyse the collected data with your instructor and report on the findings.

Your instructor will want a completed medical statement from you. In some regions a medical statement with only “no” answers will be sufficient for participation in the course. In other regions a medical signed and stamped by a medical doctor will be required and must unconditionally say that you are fit for diving.

You start your course by downloading the environment book and reading chapter four (although it is not directly related to the course, you can increase your understanding by also reading chapter 1). If you prefer to read your book on paper, then ask your instructor. The price for the paper version of this book is €24.90. If you cannot find a SCUBA C&P instructor in your area, then please contact us via info@scuba-courses.com.