What Is the Scientific Method – Definition, Tips, and Guidelines
Posted on 12 Jun 20205 min read
The scientific method is an experimentation method, which is used for exploring observations and answering given questions. This doesn’t mean that every scientist follows the steps described below. Some science fields can be tested easier than others.
For example, there are topics that can’t be tested in real-life conditions: the life of dinosaurs or the behavior of stars. This leads to a necessity to change and adjust the scientific method. Actually, there are so many types of methods that it would be impossible to count them.
However, even when they are modified, the goal of a scientific method remains the same: discovering the cause and effect connections by gathering evidence and examining it, asking questions, and deciding whether the data can be combined into a correct answer.
Below you will find a guideline on the steps you need to take in order to apply the scientific method. However, new thinking and information constantly occur, so scientists often have to repeat the steps throughout the research. A process, which involves this backing up or repeating, is called the iterative process.
It doesn’t matter whether you are doing a classroom activity, independent research, or a science project; understanding the steps below will help you focus on the main questions and work on the evidence, observations, and answers on all the possible questions.
Read our guidelines, and we guarantee that you’ll no longer have to ask yourself, ‘what is a scientific method?’
Scientific method: steps you need to make
1. Ask a question
The scientific method begins when you are asking a question about an issue that you are observing. For example, what, how, when, which, who, where, or why? If you are working on a fair project, most likely the teacher will require asking the question concerning something that can be measured with a number. We recommend asking the tutors about the question in advance because some of them have concrete requests, while others – give complete freedom.
2. Conduct background research
While many high school and college assignments can be based on a simple action plan and your writing skills, the scientific method requires using the Internet and libraries to find the best things and data to create solid research.
Make a list of sources that can be of great help, and don’t forget that they should be modern, relevant, and concern your topic the best way.
3. Elaborate hypothesis
The hypothesis is a scientific guess on how certain things work. It’s an attempt to give answers to the main question and explain how it can be tested.
A solid hypothesis allows making a prediction in the following manner: If I do this, then this will happen.
Don’t forget to indicate both – the hypothesis and prediction on the possible results. Predictions should be easily measured or evaluated.
4. Test the hypothesis doing an experiment
The experiment should test whether the prediction is right and, thus, whether your hypothesis is supported. Your experiment must be a fair test. This can be achieved when you make sure that only a single factor is changed at a time, while other conditions remain the same.
The experiments should also be repeated a few times to check whether the initial results were not an accident.
5. Analyze data and make a conclusion
When the experiment is completed, you should collect measurements and using a scientific method to analyze them, deciding whether they support the hypothesis or not. It often happens that scientists find the predictions not accurate enough and that the hypothesis is not supported.
In such a situation, the researcher should communicate experiment results and then return to the first stage and create a new hypothesis and predictions considering obtained information.
This means that the scientific method should be applied over again, step by step. Even if you find the hypothesis correct and supported, take some time to test it over again using another approach.
6. Communicate the results
To make the project complete, you need to put the results on paper and share them with the audience via a display board or a report. Professional researches use a similar approach but communicate the results during scientific meetings and conferences or by publishing them in journals and books.
Today we have answered one of the most popular questions – ‘What is a scientific method?’ Unfortunately, students are not taught how to use it and are often trapped in misunderstandings, worries, and stress.
Luckily, now you have all the necessary instruments and tools to create a perfect project, homework, or even comprehensive research. Follow the steps above, and we guarantee that they will lead you to a great result.
And if you still have questions left or want to get professional help, we are always here to cover your back.