The scientific method is the basic way scientists approach a problem and attempt to solve it.
Step 1: State the problem. You must be able to recognize and clearly state it in the form of a question.
Step 2: Analyze the data. Do some research regarding the problem or question you are trying to solve to see what information you can gather
Step 3: Formulate your HYPOTHESIS. This is an educated guess and is a possible answer to the problem.
Step 4: Conduct an experiment. Design an experiment to attempt to find out if your hypothesis is correct or not. Remember in a valid science experiment, keep accurate data, use a large sample in your research and make sure it is a controlled experiment. Half of your sample is tested (experimental group) and half is there for comparison (control group). Only the experimental group should be given the variable that you are testing.
Step 5: Analyze your data. Did your experiment show any patterns? Did you learn something?
Step 6: Come up with your conclusion. Was your hypothesis correct? If not, test another hypothesis. If it was, your experiment must be done by other scientists to make sure your results are valid.
An Example of the Scientific Method
Problem: Is the weight of children affected by the drinking of soda? (This is stated as a question.)
Hypothesis: Children who drink soda will be overweight. (This is written as a statement. We don't know if it's right or wrong until it is tested.)
Experiment: Pick a large number of children (let's say five hundred) and give half of them a diet including soda (experimental group) and half of them a diet without soda (control group) and collect data--their weight--over a six-month period.
Analysis of data: Using charts, graphs, computer models, etc., see if a pattern emerges among soda drinkers and their weight, versus non-soda drinkers and their weight.
Conclusion: Write about whether your hypothesis was correct or not based on the data.