Scientific Method

Scientific Method Steps – Guidelines to the scientific problem-solving process

The Scientific Method is a problem-solving approach to finding out answers to questions. It is the foundation for science research and knowledge.

There are sub-steps and different terms which can be used to describe the steps. At the core is 6 basic steps and then other steps may be added, such as adding to publish or share your results.

  1. Question  – State what the problem or question is.
  2. Research – Find out what is already known about the question
  3. Hypothesis –  Make a logical, educated guess of what you think might happen
  4. Experiment – Conduct a test to find out if your hypothesis is right or not
  5. Collect and Analyze data – Take measurements and graph data
  6. Conclusion – Decide if your hypothesis was correct or not
  7. 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.

Process

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 other 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 which is measurable, the change you are expecting to see based on what you did. This is also 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.

Terms Alternative words
Observation See, examine, watch
Question Inquire, wonder, ask
Research Study, learn, read, find out
Hypothesis Educated Guess, I think
Experiment Test, trial, investigate
Collect Gather, compile
Analyze Evaluate, assess, calculate
Conclusion Deduction, decision, wrap-up, interpretation,
Share Publish, distribute, communicate, reveal, disclose
Subject What the test is done on. The plant, a person, or maybe mice
Trial The number of times the experiment is done. More is better.
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