There is an old saying that reads, ‘A person who cannot apply the scientific method to understand and evaluate evidence does not have much knowledge beyond what he or she was taught in school.’
I agree with this statement very heavily. The reason being is because the scientific method is one of the greatest tools we as humans have ever created for understanding our world.
It works by using experiments and testing theories through analysis. This way, you get an accurate representation of how things are at their core!
Generalizing is another term used within the field of psychology called abstraction. Abstraction happens when you take something specific and apply it to new situations.
For example, if you read about someone’s struggle with depression then you can assume they will be similarly affected when faced with similar stressors in your own life.
That theory, or abstract idea, has been proven correct time and time again. So now, instead of thinking about individual instances of mental health, we can also say that people feel depressed due to certain thoughts and emotions they experience.
The five steps of the scientific method
The term “scientific method” usually refers to a process for analyzing information gathered through observation and experimentation. But there is an extended form of the scientific method that can be applied to any topic, not just science. This generalized scientific method (GSM) uses the same systematic approach to analyze all types of information.
The GSM has five discrete steps. These are as follows:
Step 1: Collect relevant data
In Step 2: Analyze the data, looking for patterns or relationships
In Step 3: Define and test hypotheses based on these findings
In Step 4: Interpret your results using logical reasoning and mathematics
And in Step 5: Repeat until you have proof that your hypothesis is correct
This article will discuss how this general methodology applies to business strategies and marketing tactics. While it may sound basic, there are many ways to apply it to help shape your company’s future success.
Examples of the scientific method
The next two examples can be done as either questions or statements. Therefore, to test your understanding, you can choose to respond with a yes or a no for both sets of bullets.
Systems analysis is used to determine why something does not work well. For example, if you have a bad relationship, there must exist a reason why you feel depressed after each other’t do anything for lengthy periods of time.
You need to look at what makes you unhappy in the relationship and how that could be changed or fixed.
Problem solving is another important part of systems analysis. This can be figuring out how to make the space more comfortable for you to sit together, or figuring out who will bring a snack so you don’t go hungry while studying.
Identify the subject
A fundamental part of scientific experimentation is identifying an element or compound that can be the object of study. This process is called identification, and it’s what gives science its powerful tools. Take water, for example. Water is always involved in natural processes, so scientists have learned how to work with it by studying these processes.
By learning about chemical reactions, you will learn how to identify different components of a given material. For instance, if we take a piece of paper and mix some bleach with it, then blow dry, we can see all sorts of patterns formed from the shape and position of the drops as they dry. These shapes are determined by two things: surface tension and diffusion.
Surface tension is when molecules at the edge of a liquid stick to each other. In this case, the liquid is air, and the molecule is oxygen, so there is an attraction between them. When the fluid is dried out, this effect disappears, and thusly, our drops no longer cling to each other.
Diffusion is when particles move around more slowly than they would otherwise, due to constraints like space or other particles getting in their way. As the particle moves away from another particle or area, it takes time to get where it needs to go, which creates a thin layer of empty space around it.
A scientific method does not have a specific starting point or final destination. It is always exploring, looking for new information to add to what you already know.
The term “scientific” comes from the Latin word scientia, which means knowledge or understanding. So, using the scientific method implies that you are seeking out more of this same thing over and over again.
But here’s the problem: we get so focused on trying to find this knowledge, we can become very selective about who has access to it. This way of thinking was never really applied to natural things like plants and animals.
We still use folklore and myth as explanations where people feel more inclined to share their beliefs than facts. And while there is no wrong way to believe in superstitions, they do not work and often backfire.
With science though, everything must be testable and repeatable. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t belong in our theory box.
Make a hypothesis
The first step to doing anything scientific is making an assumption or assertion about the state of affairs. In other words, you assume that things are the way they are now because this is how they have always been.
That assumption can be broad (like assuming humans were made of solid matter before we discovered plasma) or narrow (like assuming there was no water until someone proved otherwise).
With regard to science, the most common assumptions are:
The universe operates according to natural laws
Nature is stable over long periods of time
Given enough time, everything in nature will revert back to its normal state.
These three points are what make up the generalized scientific method. They all emphasize that when scientists do research, they are trying to uncover the truth by testing their hypotheses against empirical facts and experiences.
By using the scientific method, researchers can gain knowledge that has helped people survive and succeed for centuries.
Test the hypothesis
The next step in this process is to test your hypothesis. This means determining whether or not the experiment worked!
You have already performed an observation, so you now need to determine if that observation confirms or disproves the theory. If it does, then great! You proved your theory correct!
But if it doesn’t, then you will need to modify your hypothesis or add another one!
The first thing you should do is reconsider what was observed. Was there something about the experimental design that might have caused the discrepancy? For example, were there too many variables in the experiment at once?
Was the control group used properly, or did they lack crucial pieces of information? All of these could contribute to the failure of the experiment.
Refine or revise the hypothesis
The first step in doing science is to identify your hypotheses. A hypothesis is an assertion that you plan to test by performing an experiment or collection of experiments.
A good hypothesis should be unambiguous, measurable, and significant. If you are not sure what makes a hypothesis good, try testing some ideas and see if they seem plausible.
Conduct a trial
A trial is when you test or try out a hypothesis or idea. For example, if your goal is to determine whether or not it’s safe to eat fresh fruits, then testing this theory would be choosing one piece of fruit and eating it.
After you have done that, you could either swallow the whole thing or take only parts of it depending on how much risk you feel the part carried for safety. If there are no significant effects in how you feel yourself after eating it, then we can conclude that fresh fruits are at least somewhat safe to eat!
There are many instances where the generalized scientific method was used in our everyday lives. Take cooking as an example. When someone tells us they don’t like something we make, we sometimes get frustrated and give up.
But what if we tried making the same recipe a different way? What if instead of using butter, we use olive oil? Or what if we use less cream than normal?
By experimenting with recipes outside of their initial state, we can learn about how foods taste and which ingredients matter most to what kind of flavor people want.