The Scientific Method

The scientific method is a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data is gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from the data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.

The scientific method is a way for scientists to study things. The scientific method can help them come up with an answer. The first step is to generate a question. Next you need to observe and gather information to formulate a hypothesis of the answer. Next, you run experiments to see if the hypothesis is right. A key to good experiments is to only change one variable at a time, enabling you to check your results and know what you changed that affected the answer. Carefully controlled experiments are an important part of the scientific method. Finally, after running all the tests you can think of, you analyze your data. If the results do not fit your original hypothesis, you can change your hypothesis and run more tests. By going through this process, scientists can verify their hypotheses and check each other’s work. Another scientist can take a look at your tests and add more tests or refine your answer to the question.

Here is an example of the specific steps that should be taken when using the scientific method:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Gather information and observe (research)
  3. Make a hypothesis (guess the answer)
  4. Experiment and test your hypothesis
  5. Analyze your test results
  6. Modify your hypothesis, if necessary
  7. Present a conclusion
  8. Retest (often done by other scientists)

The scientific method was developed by different scientists over time. For something that sounds so simple and basic, there are still long scientific papers written about the method. Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, and Isaac Newton all contributed to the development of the scientific method as a way to learn about nature and science.

The scientific method is the foundation of modern science. Without a formal method of determining questions and their answers, we wouldn't have science or the knowledge we have today.

Source: The Scientific Method
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