The Scientific Method
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The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method

Each day you make various choices: what to eat, what to wear,when and how much to study. As a citizen of this planet you will also be asked to act on questions of much greater importance. Is nuclear power acceptable or are there better alternative energy sources? What are appropriate responses to the problems of global warming and ozone depletion? Given limited resources, what deserves the most support:the space program or finding a cure to cancer? A knowledge of the basics of science is helpful in arriving at informed opinions on these questions.

What thought processes do scientist use to find the answers to their questions? The scientific method is an approach to the solution of scientific problems. You have certainly used the scientific method in solving the problems that you may face, because it is closely related to ordinary common sense. Suppose you want to use a flashlight, but when you turn it on it does not light. You have made an observation-the flashlight does not light. You guess that the flashlight batteries are probably dead. You have proposed a reason for your observation. In the scientific method, scientist must first see,or observe, something of scientific interest. The they propose an explanation. A proposed reason for what is observed is called hypothesis.

You will want to test your proposal or hypothesis with an experiment. An experiment is a means of testing a hypothesis.Probably, you will put new batteries in the flashlight. If the flashlight lights, you are satisfied from one experiment that your hypothesis is true. Scientist also perform experiments to test their hypotheses. For the results of an experiment to be believed, the experiment must produce the same results no matter how many times it is repeated, or by whom. The repeatability of scientific experiments distinguishes science from nonscientific fields.

Many different kinds of experiments may be needed to learn whether a hypothesis is valid. A scientific hypothesis is useful only if it accounts for what scientists observe in many situations. Suppose that the flashlight does not work after you have replaced the batteries. Your hypothesis of dead batteries is probably false. When experimental data do not fit a hypothesis, it must be scrapped or changed. The new or refined hypothesis of dead batteries is then subjected to further experimental testing. In flashlight repair, you may replace the flashlight bulb if replacing the batteries is not helpful. The original,false hypothesis (dead batteries) has led to a new hypothesis (burned out bulb) and a new experiment to test it. The scientific method of observing,proposing,and testing is repeated until hypothesis fits all of the observed experimental facts.

The picture shows the diagram of scientific method.


One a scientific hypothesis meets the test of repeated experimentation, it may be elevated to a higher level of ideas. A theory is a thoroughly tested explanation of why experiments five certain results.A theory can never be proved it is always possible that a new experiment will disapprove it. Nevertheless, theories are useful because they help you form mental pictures of objects or process that you cannot see. Moreover they can give you the power to predict the behavior of natural systems under varying circumstances.

Another product of scientific research is a law. A scientific law is a concise statement that summarizes the result of a broad spectrum of observations and experiments. A scientific law describes a natural phenomenon, but it does not attempt to explain it. Scientific laws can often be expressed by simple mathematical relationships.

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Comments (2)

Good work. I enjoyed reading it.

Ranked #3 in Chemistry

Thank you!