How to Use the Scientific Method

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Ask a Question: The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you observe: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where?

And, in order for the scientific method to answer the question it must be about something that you can measure, preferably with a number.

Your Question
Do Background Research: Rather than starting from scratch in putting together a plan for answering your question, you want to be a savvy scientist using library and Internet research to help you find the best way to do things and insure that you don't repeat mistakes from the past.

Background Research Plan
Finding Information
Research Paper
Construct a Hypothesis: A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work: "If _____[I do this] _____, then _____[this]_____ will happen."

You must state your hypothesis in a way that you can easily measure, and of course, your hypothesis should be constructed in a way to help you answer your original question.

Variables for Beginners
Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment: Your experiment tests whether your hypothesis is true or false. It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same.

You should also repeat your experiments several times to make sure that the first results weren't just an accident.

Experimental Procedure
Materials List
Conducting an Experiment
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion: Once your experiment is complete, you collect your measurements and analyze them to see if your hypothesis is true or false.

Scientists often find that their hypothesis was false, and in such cases they will construct a new hypothesis starting the entire process of the scientific method over again. Even if they find that their hypothesis was true, they may want to test it again in a new way.

Data Analysis &...
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