Scientific Method

Topics: Scientific method, Science, Theory Pages: 5 (1960 words) Published: August 25, 2006
"The Scientific Method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate representation of the world. The scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing a hypothesis or a theory". Funny thing about the scientific method, the more research I did from web site to web site it became apparent to me that there are many views to actually how many steps there are in the process. For the purpose of this assignment I am going to use the site that stated there are only four and focus my thoughts on these major parts. This article was derived from three different sources and I found it a little deceiving in that the definition stated that the scientific method is a process used by "scientists". I feel, and later read, that the scientific method can be linked to many everyday uses that are not always conducted in a lab. I can see the basic thought, testing and trial process in people when they are faced with something that they are un-clear what the outcome is going to be. Let me explain by breaking down the 4 major steps.

1."Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena". In this case you as a "scientist" need to pick a topic that interest you and develop a question that could be answered by your research and testing. 2. "Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena". In this step, you would take your question and formulate a prediction of what the outcome of your question is going to be. 3. "Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations". Often times you need to consider how simple or extreme changes in the testing environment will affect your outcome. 4. "Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments". This is where you would actually conduct your experiment using what you know (constants) and variables to test your hypothesis and develop your conclusions. During steps two and three listed above it is common for someone to use a processes called Inductive Reasoning when hypothesizing an outcome. This thought process occurs when the experimenter makes observations and gathers information about their original question. It is important to understand that the scientist will use his/her life experiences to influences the hypothesis. In layman's terms, when you see something happening and then observe what is affected by it a number of times, you can then reason that another test would reveal the same results because the conditions were the same. Deductive Reasoning is a little different. You start with information or idea that is called a premise. Like inductive reasoning the goal is to come up with a conclusion but the process is not the same. In deductive reasoning, a scientist uses a "if, then" logic to determine a conclusion. A good example is Sherlock Holmes; he used deductive reasoning to solve mysteries. Think of it this way: - If this happens...

- And this happens...
- Then you can come to this conclusion. If the premises (your original information or idea) are true, then your conclusion should also be true. Probably the most involved step of the scientific method is step four, "Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments". Again, this is where you would actually conduct your experiment using what you know (constants) and changes to your experiment (variables) to test your hypothesis and develop your conclusions. In science when testing, when doing the experiment, it must be a controlled experiment. The scientist must contrast an "experimental group" with a "control group" using an independent variable. (In general, the independent variable is the thing that someone actively controls/changes; while the dependent variable is the thing that changes...

References: Wilson, E. Bright. An Introduction to Scientific Research (McGraw-Hill, 1952).
Kuhn, Thomas
Barrow, John. Theories of Everything (Oxford Univ. Press, 1991).
Borror, Donald J. 1960. Dictionary of Root Words and Combining Forms. Mayfield Publ. Co.
Campbell, Neil A., Lawrence G
Campbell, Neil A., Lawrence G. Mitchell, Jane B. Reece. 1999. Biology: Concepts and Connections, 3rd Ed. Benjamin/Cummings Publ. Co., Inc. Menlo Park, CA. (plus earlier editions)
Marchuk, William N
T.A. Boden, R.J. Stepanski, and F.W. Stoss, Trends '91: A Compendium of Data on Global Change, ORNL/CDIAC-46 (Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, December 1991).
Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005
The Latest Myths and Facts on Global Warming [PDF], Environmental Defense, 2005.
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