Whether you’re doing a project for the science fair, a scientific activity in the classroom, independent research like your degree thesis, or any other practical scientific research, understanding the steps and importance of the scientific method will help you focus scientific questions and work through observations and data to answer it as efficiently as possible.
It was created in the seventeenth century and determines the accuracy of scientific theories through careful observation and experimentation. However, not all theories go through the same process, as some areas of science can be tested more easily than others. When direct experimentation is not possible, scientists modify the scientific method. In fact, there are probably as many versions of the scientific method as there are scientific ones.
But even when modified, the goal remains the same: to discover cause-and-effect relationships by asking questions. In this way, the evidence is carefully gathered and examined and thus determined whether all the available information can be combined into a logical response.
What is Science?
Science is about analyzing the world by observing and listening. It is curiosity in reflective action about the world and how it behaves.
Anyone can get an idea about how nature works. Some people think their idea is right because it “seems right” or “makes sense.” But for a scientist this is not enough. A scientist will test the idea in the real world. An idea that predicts how the world works is called a hypothesis. If an idea or hypothesis correctly predicts how something will behave or if an idea explains all the facts or evidence we have found, we call it theory.
Thus, among the activities often identified as characteristics of science are systematic observation and experimentation, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the formation and testing of hypotheses and theories.
Consider a few examples: An ecologist who observes the territorial behaviors of bluebirds and the geologist who examines the distribution of fossils in an outcrop are scientists who make observations to find patterns in a natural environment. An astrophysicist photographing distant galaxies and the climatologist who uses meteorological data in a similar way are also scientists who make observations, but in more discrete environments.
The above examples are observational science, but there is also experimental science. A chemist who observes the rates of a chemical reaction at a variety of temperatures and a nuclear physicist who records the results of the bombardment of a particular type of matter with neutrons are scientists who conduct experiments. The biologist who observes the reaction of a particular tissue to various stimulants is also experimenting to find patterns of behavior.
What is the Scientific Method?
The scientific method, according to Lases-Robles (2008), is a process of experimentation that is used to explore observations and answer questions. In this way, hypotheses are developed, tested, and tested or disproved. Although the scientific method is developed in a series of steps, we must bear in mind that they can be repeated at any time during the process. This backup and repeat action is called an iterative process.
When you are ready to present the results, you should make sure you follow the correct degree thesis writing format. In this regard, various elements must be considered, such as the structure, choice of font and use of subtitles. In Online-Tesis.com,we can help you when submitting it for the review of the guardian and for approval at the time of the defense.
The scientific method must be distinguished from the goals and products of science, such as knowledge, predictions, or control. In this way, it is the means by which those goals are achieved. The scientific method must also be distinguished from the meta-methodology, which includes values and justifications or past successes. Finally, the method is distinct from the detailed and contextual practices through which the methods are implemented.
The Scientific Method, a historical perspective
According to Ferrater (1975), in 1874, the British economist Stanley Jevons (1835-1882) commented in his work Principles of Science, “Physicists speak familiarly of the scientific method, but they could not easily describe what they mean by that expression.” Half a century later, sociologist Stuart Rice (1889–1969) attempted an “inductive examination” of the definitions of the scientific method offered in the social scientific literature. Finally, he complained about his “futility.” “The number of elements in such an enumeration,” he wrote, “would be infinitely large.”
The great variation in possible meanings has made the scientific method a valuable rhetorical device. In this regard, the scientific method has played three functions: it has been a working tool, a bridge between the scientific and secular worlds and a brand that represents science itself. In 1928, George Gallup (1901–1984), the founder of the Gallup consultancy, gave a dissertation at the University of Iowa on “An Objective Method for Determining Reader Interest.” Two years later, he presented an article called “A Scientific Method for Determining Reader Interest.”
Steps of the Scientific Method
A person who uses the scientific method must first identify a problem that needs solving. The research problem or question is the most important part of the scientific method. Every part of the project is done to answer this question. For example, a scientist may be interested in whether aspirin can cure baldness in men. The research problem would then be: “Can aspirin cure baldness?”
Formulation of the Hypothesis
After identifying a problem within the scientific method, a hypothesis is formulated. The hypothesis is a “polite assumption,” formed as a claim that it may be the answer to the research question. Explain how you think your project can demonstrate your purpose. According to Bosque-Rodríguez (1998), you should try to establish the results you are predicting in measurable terms. However, the conclusion will not always match the hypothesis.
The scientist interested in aspirin as a cure for baldness could formulate the following hypothesis: aspirin causes hair regeneration on completely bald heads. A null hypothesis can also be declared: “There is no significant difference in the number of hairs growing on the head of treated or untreated men.”
Here we list all the supplies and equipment used to conduct the research or experiment. The bill of materials should include all those that will be used in each part of the procedure. These should include computer equipment, notebooks, pencils and any other input necessary for the success of the same.
The procedure is a detailed, step-by-step description of how your experiment was conducted. We must be clear about the variables versus the controls. We must also be specific about how we will measure the results to prove or disprove the hypothesis. The procedure should be like a recipe that someone else can easily follow. It’s good to have photos that show the steps on a bulletin board.
The baldness expert could design an experiment that compared two groups of individuals so that they differ in a single factor. That difference would be whether they took aspirin or not. We assume that a sample of 20 completely bald men is taken. They are randomly divided into two groups of 10 men each. A group of ten would serve as a treatment group with one taking four aspirins per day for 3 months. The other group would serve as a control group: they would go home to live life as usual without aspirin. At the end of the 3 months, everyone would go to the lab and the results would be established.
Analysis of results
The next step in the scientific process is data analysis. On the basis of such an analysis, the hypothesis that was formulated at the beginning of the experiment can be rejected or accepted. The results are usually in the form of a statement that explains or interprets the data. They can be in the form of graphs or a general summary of what your data tells you. It is also allowed to use Excel sheets, for example, to perform the collection and tabulation of them.
It is presented as a conclusion or summary of the research and the results of the experiment. This is where we answer the problem or question asked and that gave rise to the whole process. We then declare whether the data support the hypothesis or not. We may have data to support part of the hypothesis and some of it may not. In this case, we must explain why the results were different.
The purpose of the Scientific Method is to have a systematic way of testing ideas and reporting results in the research process. A key component of using the scientific method is that it ensures that anyone can replicate the experiment.
The process of running an experiment using the Scientific Method ensures that the work is well thought out and organized, and that all data is recorded and can be easily shared. This, along with the possible replication of the circumstances of the experiment, reduces any bias on the part of the person conducting the experiment. In addition, the communication of the results allows the work to be reviewed to ensure that the results are accurate, accurate and interpreted correctly.
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You might also be interested in: How to choose the title of the research
Bosque-Rodríguez (1998). Elementary Research. Trillas: Mexico.
Ferrater, Mora José (1975). Dictionary of Philosophy Volume II. Editorial Sudamericana: Buenos Aires.
Lases-Robles (2008). Elementary Manual of Research Projects. 5th Edition CIDL: Mexico.