What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term, scientific method steps? Do you start thinking of big laboratories, and serious scientists, performing step-by-step experiments? Well, you are kind of correct, but that is not what we are here to discuss. In this article, we will talk about another version of the scientific method steps and definitions.
The technique or the method that we are talking about here helps scientists, and anybody else as of that matter daily. Yes, scientists perform the scientific method steps to find out the authenticity of their experiments. Such measures also help them to double-check on new ventures and facts. Therefore, they can come down to a solid conclusion that the whole world follows afterward.
Similarly, in our daily lives, we perform the scientific method steps to decide upon something important. For example, if you want to invest, will you not check several times whether you are making the current move? Therefore, if you can generalize such technical terms, it will become easier for you to understand them.
Scientific method steps: Basic principles
The two most important concepts or terms in the understanding of a scientific method are hypothesis and theory. On the one hand, a hypothesis means any testable prediction that is derived from a logical theory. On the other hand, a theory is what we use to make predictions regarding future observations.
Before proceeding to learn about the scientific method steps, you must know about the various studies involved in the process. For example, experiments, non-descriptive and descriptive studies, surveys, and case studies are some of them.
During an experiment, the person will try to understand certain variables, their nature, and their effects on other counterparts. One thing that remains constant is that the entire practice is carried out in a perfectly controlled and continuous environment.
What are descriptive studies? Naturally, it is the method of explaining the link between two intended variables. In this case, there is less control over the effects and causes.
A case study is a famous scientific method example. In this one, a researcher will try to explain any unusual occurrence. Besides, there is usually a single subject in a case study, and you only need to perform these in rare or extreme cases.
Let us talk about the meaning of studies now. The concept of surveys is somewhat more straightforward than anything else. In this case, samples or groups of people are chosen to answer the same set of questions. So, after the researchers get answers to the same questions from several people, they start making a comparison. Such activities help them to come down to a favorable conclusion. Non-descriptive:
Now, in the case of non-descriptive methods, techniques of correlation are used to find out the link between a few intended variables.
The concept of verifiability happens only if another researcher can replicate a particular method or study. So, to make sure that verifiability is achievable, a researcher must jot down all the steps of a survey that he performs. Besides, it is essential that he also explains every step. That is precisely what we are trying to do in this article about scientific method steps. It helps other people or scientists to understand why a particular experiment reacts in the manner that it does.
By predictability, we mean that a particular study or method can help us to make predictions or assumptions for the future. The theory’s strength and accuracy will further measure the effectiveness or fruitfulness of the forecast. The predictions may or may not be precise, majorly depending on the strength or understanding of a concept.
One of the scientific method examples in everyday life is the concept of falsifiability. It tells us whether a hypothesis, assumption, or prediction can face disapproval. If you want to prove that a particular hypothesis is falsifiable, then it is a must to make stern observations. Besides, you can also do physical experiments to confirm that any thesis does not back the theory.
Despite no proof against a particular hypothesis of it being false, you cannot make assumptions that it is a valid one too. It is because experiments in the future may prove that the hypothesis is falsifiable in real sense. Again, you cannot forge an unconfirmed report just to confirm it is falsifiable.
The meaning of fairness in the context of a scientific method is that you must make sure not to leave out on any pieces of evidence or data while experimenting. As a researcher, you must never be biased or practice window-dressing of any vital evidence. It is never up to you to decide whether or not to reveal aa piece of data.
You must also remain neutral at all times for the sake of authenticity, and not support a particular hypothesis blindly. In short, you must take into account every single piece of information, whether or not it invalidates a theory.
The scientific method steps are not formalized, even though it is one of the best inventions in the world of science. Therefore, the steps that you will find out in the next section may have other variations in the organization too. Next, you will get to learn about the 7 steps of the scientific method along with compelling examples. You can take your practical examples also for better understanding.
Scientific method steps: A detailed list
Check out the following 7 steps of the scientific method that forms the most critical part of the entire study.
Making an observation
Have you ever started preparing for an examination without knowing about the syllabus? Similarly, scientists cannot decide on a fact till the time they have made thorough observations on it. When you ask yourself why scientists are usually so inquisitive and curious, the reason is precisely here. They are always on a hunt to find something unusual or new. For example, that thing can be anything starting from an object, movement, pattern, question, and more.
Now, the moment they have something to grab their attention, they will start preparing for the next step. For example, during the coronavirus, several people think drinking vinegar can prevent them from the virus symptoms. However, there is still no exact proof for such a concept. So, scientists will take up this matter and try to prove if it is a myth or a fact.
Now that the scientist or researcher has got hold of something that urges their curiosity, it is time to ask a few questions. Taking reference from the above example, you can simply ask- does drinking vinegar or acetic acid help to prevent a person from the symptoms of the coronavirus? Well, it is the initial stage of a particular experiment, and you can try your own as well.
Doing background research
If you want to choose the perfect answer to a specific question that you have asked, you must have a sound knowledge of all the potential solutions. Now, to gain that kind of experience, what you must practice is a thorough process of background research. Remember, everything that you will find online may not always be right. A double-verification is a must in every case.
Again, we will take the example of acetic acid or vinegar for the prevention of coronavirus symptoms. What you can do to verify the authenticity of such concepts is to read several articles and research reports. You can search for official scientific reports that are available online and make a comparison there.
Once you are satisfied with a specific solution, others can share the knowledge too. Why don’t you take up the question you thought of in the previous step and start your part of the research also? It will surely be a fun experiment.
Create a hypothesis
You already know from the prior section of basic principles what exactly we mean by the term hypothesis. Putting it in simple words once again, it is a probable answer to a related question and not on which you are experimenting. It is because you are yet to find the perfect solution to the core question, and the associated answers will help you climb the ladder.
Once you find a proper answer to relevant questions, you can proceed further with the next set of questions to validate your hypothesis. Also, to measure the precision of your hypothesis, make sure that it is falsifiable. It means that the next set of the experiment may be able to prove that the theory is false.
For example, according to your hypothesis and research, it is helpful to consume a little amount of acid to kill the virus in the digestive system. However, it may happen that the next set of research that takes place on the same topic will prove the opposite.
Conducting an experiment
What is the most effective way of finding a solution to your problem? It’s simple! You have to do a proper investigation or test the subject. Now, the duration of the experiment and the period required to find the perfect answer depends on the subject of it. Some experiments take just a few days, and others keep running for a hundred years too!
There is an entirely different sector in the science industry that has people who are specialists in designing experiments. It is because the designing of a particular experiment is directly proportionate to the effectiveness of the same. Some scientists and researchers spend their entire lives learning the perfect ways to do experiment designing. However, there is one thing that remains constant when you want to discriminate between a good and bad experiment. It is that a good one will always be able to disprove or prove the core hypothesis, which forms the base of the experiment.
If you take our general example of drinking alkaline or acidic solution to prevent the symptoms of COVID-19, you will have to gather samples. It means you will have to get two groups of living beings. You will now have to make sure that one group drinks acetic acid for a particular period, and the other does not. Now you have to run a health checkup for both the groups and compare samples. You will surely notice some changes between both the reports. Now, you will understand whether the hypothesis is correct or not.
Analyzing and comparing results to find a conclusion
It is the moment of truth now that we all were waiting for. You must be eager to find the answer to the core hypothetical question. However, before revealing the solution, the scientists will slow down a bit to make sure they are providing only the correct facts. They will step backward and run a verification process to make sure each step in the experiment was right. The researchers will also make a check if they have taken into account every bit of evidence and information before concluding.
There are times when the results are predictable and straightforward. However, the scientists will still do their part of doing a statistical verification of the results. After all, you become liable for what you reveal on a large scale. You must make sure that you will be able to own up to your decision if there is a problem later on. Now, for example, the conclusion is that drinking acetic acid does not prevent the symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, people may damage their internal organs due to such a practice.
Reporting the results
We are now at the final part of the list containing the scientific method steps wherein you will learn about reporting results of an experiment. Suppose you have experimented on something that no one else has done ever. Now, we will again look back to the list of principles wherein the term verifiability was mentioned. It will soon come in the picture because you will have to make a wholesome report that will contain the smallest details of the experiment. It is to help future scientists to work on the same hypothesis to try and come out with better results.
Although the language of the entire article was technical to give you a picture of the real world, you can generalize it all. Go through the list above, and prepare your hypothesis for a fun activity.