Related Resource

The Role of Theory in Advancing 21st Century Biology: Catalyzing Transformative Research (September 2007)

Report in Brief

Theory is an integral part of all biological research. Biologists' theoretical and conceptual frameworks inform every step of their research, affecting what experiments they do, what techniques and technologies they develop and use, and how they interpret their data. At the request of the National Science Foundation, this National Research Council report examines whether a greater emphasis on theory would be useful in advancing biology. The report concludes that theory is already an inextricable thread running throughout the practice of biology; but that explicitly giving theory equal status with other components of biological research could help catalyze transformative research that will lead to creative, dynamic, and innovative advances in our understanding of life.