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The Ultimate Guide: Step by Step Scientific Method

The goal of science is to describe the world while minimizing bias. This can be difficult to do when you believe strongly in your hypothesis. The scientific method is simply a guideline scientists use to test ideas with evidence in a manner that minimizes the prejudice of the scientist. We can all learn from the steps scientific method when we want to view a task objectively.

Testing ideas with evidence is the core of science. The scientific method is a guideline to help do so objectively. Let’s find out how.

Step Scientific Method
Step by Step Scientific Method

Definition Scientific Method

The scientific method is a flexible and adaptable process that scientists employ when exploring a question or problem. It is not a rigid set of steps that must be followed to prove a hypothesis, but rather a general framework that guides their investigation. While all scientists use the scientific method, they may not necessarily follow all the steps or complete them in the same order. For instance, a scientist may spend years gathering data and making observations about a topic before formulating a hypothesis. Ultimately, the scientific method is a tool that allows scientists to approach their work with rigor and objectivity.

Let’s explore the steps of the scientific method (7 Steps Scientific Method)

Steps Scientific Method

1. Observe

The first step in the scientific method is observation. Scientists are constantly curious and on the lookout for patterns, trends, questions, and problems that they don't yet understand. Once they observe something interesting, they move on to the next step of the scientific method to further investigate and understand it.

2. Ask a Question.

The second step in the scientific method involves formulating a clear and specific question that the scientist hopes to answer through their research. This question should be based on the initial observation or curiosity that led the scientist to pursue the study in the first place.

3. Do Background Research

After formulating a question to investigate, the next step in the scientific method is conducting background research. It is important to gather information from reliable sources, such as academic journals or reputable websites like Google Scholar. It is crucial to be critical of sources found online, as not all information may be accurate or trustworthy. By conducting thorough background research, one can gain a better understanding of the topic and potential answers to their question.

4. Form a hypotheses

The fourth step in the scientific method is to form a hypothesis. This involves creating a statement that predicts the answer to your research question. It is important that the hypothesis is falsifiable, meaning that it can be proven wrong through testing. This step is crucial in guiding the research process and ensuring that the experiment is designed to test the hypothesis.

5. Test the Hypothesis

The fifth step in the scientific method is conducting an experiment to test the hypothesis. This step can take anywhere from a quick experiment to years of research, depending on the subject being studied. Designing a good experiment is crucial and can be a career in itself for some scientists. The main function of any experiment is to prove or disprove the hypothesis, and this is the ultimate goal of the scientific method.

6. Analyze Results

The sixth step in the scientific method involves analyzing the data collected during the experiment and drawing a conclusion. Scientists carefully examine the results to determine whether they support or contradict the original hypothesis. To ensure accuracy, statistical tests are often performed to confirm the validity of the findings. This step is crucial in determining the success of the experiment and advancing scientific knowledge.

7. Report Results

The seventh step in the scientific method is to communicate the results of the study. This involves sharing the findings with other scientists through publications, presentations, and conferences. It is important to communicate the results accurately and honestly, including any limitations or uncertainties in the data. This step allows other scientists to review and replicate the study, building upon the knowledge gained and advancing the field. While some scientists may not conduct traditional experiments, they still follow this step to share their research with the scientific community.

A Case Study in the Scientific Method

You probably already think like a scientist and don’t even know it. We use the scientific method to solve problems in everyday life. Have you ever plugged in your cell phone only to find that it is not charging? What do you do?

  • We can tell the phone isn’t charging because the battery icon isn’t illuminated.

  • We ask ourselves, “Why isn’t my phone charging?”

  • We wonder if the charging cord is broken, causing the phone to not charge. Maybe it’s the wall charger block? Perhaps it’s the outlet? Maybe we need to clean the charger connector? Maybe the phone is broken?

  • We guess that it’s the charging cable and decided to test and see.

  • We use the same outlet, same charger block, same phone, but grab a different charger cable and try again. The only thing we’ve changed is the charging cable.

  • We check to see if the phone is now charging.

If that works and your phone charges, your theory may be right or supported. If the phone does not work, your idea may be completely mistaken or not supported by the facts. The outcomes of your experiment either back up your hypothesis and prediction or show that you were wrong. It would help to remember that simply because the test backs up your theory doesn't mean it's correct.

It just means that it is probably right. But if the test results go against your hypothesis, your hypothesis is likely wrong. When testing a prediction, you should always consider the potential of a flaw that could lead to results that don't match up. If that's the case, you must throw out your theory and develop a new one.

What do we do next?

Here, we think about what we’ve learned and decide what to do next. If our tests showed that your phone charged, we could do more tests to confirm or change your theory.

We could, for example, decide to find out if the whole cord is broken, or if the connector just needed a good clean. If the test results didn't back up our theory that the cord was broken we could develop a new theory. For instance, your next idea could be that the fuse for the outlet is blown, or that the block is broken.

Uses of the Scientific Method

The scientific process can be used to do things like:

  • Trying to explain how nature works. It's hard to say exactly how nature works because we may only have a few examples, which can lead us to the wrong conclusions. Most of the time, the best you can do is guess. By finding flaws in the reasoning, you may employ the scientific method to refute ideas about how the natural world works.

  • Lab research in the sciences. Scientists use the scientific process when they do experiments, so if you have the same tools and follow the same steps, you might be able to do the same research.

  • You are Learning to think critically. When you use the scientific method, you get used to finding answers logically, which can help you think more critically in your everyday life. If you don't use logic, you may be more likely to have a skewed view of things. You might come to the wrong conclusions if you have a skewed view of things.

Why is it important to follow the scientific method?

It's important to use the scientific method because:

  • It's a standard way of doing things. Scientists do experiments in a standard way because the steps in the scientific method are planned out. This means that their work can be shared with more people.

  • It gets rid of bias. Bias is the tendency to think that your point of view is better than other people's. With a scientific approach, you can eliminate bias in experiments. Science experiments need to be objective. The scientific method requires that you carefully write down every step of an experiment to be repeated and shared with others. The outcomes of your experiment should be neutral if you want to do this. When an organization or scientist's ties could lead to bias, the scientific method can help.

  • It helps come up with ideas. Theories are broad ideas based on facts and can be used to ensure and predict what will happen. Einstein's theory of relativity is an example of a hypothesis tested and proven to be true.

  • It can make things better. If you know how the scientific method works, you might be able to learn important skills for solving problems. For instance, if you attempt to resolve an issue, you can isolate it by thinking about or eliminating things that don't matter. It can also help you change your solutions and test them repeatedly.

  • It gives you the ability to predict. If a hypothesis turns out to be true, it is more likely that something will happen. This means you can use science to forecast the likelihood that an event will happen again.

Who Used the scientific method?

Why is the scientific method used in the publishing world.

All fields of science use the scientific method as a framework to make observations, gather data, and draw conclusions. The scientific method is a way to explain natural science logically by getting data and figuring out what it means. It applies to making and testing hypotheses to develop explanations that make sense.

The scientific method is used in all sciences—including chemistry, physics, geology, and psychology. The scientists in these fields ask different questions and perform different tests. However, they use the same core approach to find answers that are logical and supported by evidence. The scientific method is a way to solve problems step by step.

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