Scientific Method Steps – Guidelines to the scientific problem-solving process
A Scientific Method is a problem-solving approach to finding out answers to questions. It is the foundation for scientific research and knowledge.
There are sub-steps and different terms that can be used to describe the steps. At the core is 6 basic steps, other steps may be added, such as gathering materials and writing the procedures for the experiment and adding the last step to publish or share your results.
- Question – Define and state what the problem or question is.
- Research – Find out what is already known, collect information on the question
- Hypothesis – Make a logical, educated guess of what you think might happen
- Experiment – Conduct a test to find out if your hypothesis is right or not
- Collect and Analyze data – Observe, take measurements and graph the data
- Conclusion – Decide if your hypothesis was correct or not
- Share – Publish your results, let others know what you found out
This method is used in all sciences and being able to produce answers and facts that
have data and evidence to support them is key to real science.
A final step (Share) is added to communicate the findings of the research so others can reproduce the study to confirm its findings or to show errors. This process is called “Peer Review.” This evaluation by other scientists helps to establish the validity and truthfulness of the research and to find any errors, problems, or mistakes in the study.
OBSERVATION – You observe something that makes you wonder
QUESTION– It all starts with a question from making an observation.
RESEARCH – Research on the topic to find out if anyone has already found the answer, what has been tried before, and what problems others faced in researching the topic.
HYPOTHESIS– With the background information learned an idea is made on how
something will affect the subjects. A hypothesis is often called an “educated guess”. This is a statement on what or how you think something will affect (change) the subjects, what you are going to test is called the “Independent Variable”.
EXPERIMENT– After the hypothesis, a plan or method is made to test it, and then the actual experiment is done
COLLECT & ANALYZE DATA– During and after the experiment, data is taken and recorded. The data is something that is measurable, the change you are expecting to see based on what you did. The data you collect is called the “Dependent Variable.”
CONCLUSION – With all the data collected and analyzed a conclusion can be made. Did the results support your hypothesis or disprove it? Both are equally good and valid results. Remember, scientists, are not trying to get the answer they want but to find the truth, the facts which are supported by evidence.
SHARE – Whether the conclusion supports the hypothesis or not the results are shared with others. Results are published and other scientists will do the same experiment to see if they get the same results to support the hypothesis. This is called Peer Review.
Different words and terms can be used interchangeably, knowing alternative words will help in readings and discussion.
|Observation||See, examine, watch|
|Question||Inquire, wonder, ask|
|Research||Study, learn, read, find out|
|Hypothesis||Educated Guess, I think|
|Experiment||Test, trial, investigate|
|Analyze||Evaluate, assess, calculate|
|Conclusion||The deduction, decision, wrap-up, interpretation,|
|Share||Publish, distribute, communicate, reveal, disclose|
|Subject||What the test is done on. A plant, person, animal, or an object|
|Trial||The number of times the experiment is done. The more is better.|