What is the scientific method?  Could you explain each of the steps in this scientific method diagram in detail?  

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txmedteach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The scientific method is generally thought of as the process by which knowledge is obtained as objectively as possible. It is generally composed of a few steps:

  • Asking a Question - You need to have an idea of what you are trying to answer in an experiment. Something like "Why does a magnet move when you turn on a current nearby?" or something along those lines.
  • Forming a Hypothesis (Explanation/Prediction in diagram) - Based on what the scientific community knows now, what do you think the answer to that question is? In making an experiment to test your hypothesis, what should happen if it is correct? What if it is incorrect?
  • Experimenting - Perform an experiment that is likely to confirm or disprove the hypothesis. Remember, that hypothesis is what you are testing to see if you can answer the question.
  • Analyze the data (Observation in diagram) - What data did you collect? Is it consistent with what you predicted would happen based on your hypothesis?
  • Conclusion (Generalization in diagram) - Was your hypothesis supported or not? Is there further work to be done to try to answer the question?

The diagram you provided shows a good example of a cyclic version of this process. Every time you ask a question or make a hypothesis or prediction, you base those on what theories have been found previously by deducing what should happen. Here, it is deductive because you eliminate possibilities on the assumption that other information is true. When you explain your own data by forming a conclusion, you might find that there are possibilities that you have not accounted for that could explain the results, but you provide what you believe to be the best possible explanation based on the evidence, which is inductive reasoning.

aeherb3 | Student

Hi there,

The scientific method is the basis of all experimenting.  It's a circular process that is always being revised and refined, but it follows the same basic steps each time. 

1st- Identify the problem or question- what are you being asked to solve? For example, which cost effective solution is most efficient at removing oil stains from clothing.

2nd, you would need to research and gather information- you want to build on what's been done before and proven effective (unless you're verifying a previous result)- What solutions have proven to work before, what research has been done, etc.

3rd, make a hypothesis- what result are you testing for? If I use the hydrogen peroxide solution, then it will remove the stain most effectively.

4th, you'll want to develop your experiment and gather materials.  What do you need, what exactly are you going to do, etc. (materials and procedure)

5th, test your hypothesis by carrying out your procedure.

6th, record results in the form of data tables and graphs.

7th- analyze your results and form a conclusion- was your hypothesis supported or not? What could you do better if you were to do it again? What did you find out?

8th- Communicate your results! Your results don't mean anything unless you can effectively communicate them to someone else. 

9th- Revise, Redesign, Reevaluate- remember- science is a constantly evoloving process with new knowledge added every day! Keep experimenting!

Hope this helps!

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