What are the steps scientists take, to answer a question?  

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The scientific method is a logical method for problem solving. Generally, scientists will pose a concise question about an area of interest. 

Next, they will conduct research to find out what is known about the problem or question. Based on this, a scientist will formulate an hypothesis. This is an educated guess regarding a possible solution to the problem. A good hypothesis must be testable. It is written as an answer to the question or problem.

An example of a question is--will plants grow taller with the addition of fertilizer? One possible hypothesis is...Plants will grow taller when fertilizer is added.

This hypothesis can be tested by performing a controlled experiment. One group called the experimental group, will receive the variable being tested--(independent variable) while the other group known as the control group, is there for a comparison and will not receive the independent variable. The dependent variable will be the growth of the plant. The soil type, amount of sunlight, amount of water, type of plant used in the research, will all identical in the two groups. The only difference will be that the experimental group will receive the fertilizer.

A pre-determined amount of time for the experiment to take place, will be chosen and data will be collected regarding the growth rate of plants in the experimental and control set-ups. The data will be placed into charts, graphs and data tables and subsequently analyzed.

Eventually, a researcher will come to a conclusion. If the hypothesis is correct and is supported by the data, the hypothesis is accepted. If it is incorrect, a new hypothesis can be investigated. If fertilizer made plants grow taller, the results can be shared with others who can also do further research. 

I have included a link with scientific method steps.

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