A key part of any field is having a good understanding of how to evaluate if someone or something is right or wrong. In science, this process is called the scientific method. The term comes from Greek words meaning “to investigate” and “methods.”
The word was first used in reference to an investigative technique by the philosopher Aristotle. He coined it as poiesis which means “production” or “making.” This influenced later philosophers like Francis Bacon who adapted it for use in studying truth through analysis and experimentation.
Bacon expanded upon it and gave it its current form – the scientific method. Since then, many thinkers have discussed what makes up the scientific method and why it works.
However, one thing everyone has agreed on is that the fundamental tool at the heart of the scientific method is skepticism. Skepticism is the ability to doubt things without proof or justification. It’s also known as critical thinking, but using reason to question claims can be much more powerful.
Skepticism is important because we live in a world full of false beliefs and propaganda. Technology gives us easy access to information, making it hard to know what is true and what is not. Being able to assess whether something seems credible or not helps you sort out the facts from fiction.
This article will go into greater depth about the importance of skepticism in the context of social justice movements and activism.
Steps of the scientific method
The first step in the scientific process is to gather relevant information. You will need to determine if your hypothesis has strong evidence to back it up. If it does, then you can move onto the next steps!
If not, you must modify or reevaluate your hypothesis. Or you could test another one!
The second step is to perform an experiment to see whether your hypothesis is correct.
You may want to compare your hypothesis with a baseline state to make sure your experiment works and that it makes sense. For example, testing whether baking soda is effective for cleaning silver frequently by rubbing it on all areas of your skin where jewelry is worn. Yours would be your own body.
A baseline state here would be just using alcohol wipes which contain ethanol (the active ingredient in most cleaners) alone. Testing bakings effects would be comparing its effectiveness with only using alcohol wipes as an agent.
Examples of the scientific method
The term “scientific” is often used as a blanket description for anything that involves using systematic, logical reasoning to determine answers. But this definition is too broad; it implies that any process made up of steps is scientific.
That isn’t always the case. For example, when people say they are doing business with the “science” or use logic in their decisions, what they mean is that they are relying on empirical (or factual) evidence instead of intuitive feelings or assumptions.
A few examples of the application of the scientific method can include studying how sugar affects blood glucose levels, determining whether a product works through experiments, or investigating why one theory seems to dominate other theories. All of these apply some part of the formalized structure we refer to as the five-step methodological approach called the scientific method.
This article will go into more detail about the five steps and how each step applies to the topic.
Who developed the scientific method?
The term “scientific” was not part of the original definition of the word “method.” In fact, when Aristotle coined the word “techne” in his work On Technique, he did not include the prefixes “scientia” or “sophistica,” which mean knowledge or expertise, respectively. He only included “episteme,” which means understanding or wisdom.
Aristotle described this as an expert way to do things that works well because it is logical and systematic. But he didn’t use the word “science” to describe this approach. It wasn’t until several hundred years later that anyone used science to refer to this type of reasoning.
The British mathematician Sir Isaac Newton is usually credited with developing the concept of a systematic way to learn by studying what others have before you and making sure your own ideas are sound. His three-principle system still bears his name — the scientific method.
These principles were consistency, reliability, and reproducibility. Consistency requires doing the same thing over and over again under the same conditions. Reliability refers to confirming the outcome of a process under repeatable circumstances. Reproducibility means starting with the exact same ingredients and producing the same result every time.
By these standards, many theories that seem completely made up never meet those requirements. For example, just about any theory about life after death could be disputed. Since there is no proof either way, they both remain unproven.
What are the different branches of science?
So, what are all these things we call “science”? Let me give you some definitions!
Science is a process that has three major components: experimentation, analysis, and conclusions based on those two points. Experimentation happens when you test a hypothesis or theory by performing an activity (or set of activities). Analysis comes after the experiment, where you take notes, talk about your thoughts, and determine how well the hypothesis explains the data it was tested with. Conclusion means to summarize the results in terms someone who knows more than us can understand, such as “the theory predicts this outcome 90% of the time”.
That is the basics of scientific method, but there are many other types of science. For example, social sciences like psychology and sociology use similar experimental and analytical techniques, but their conclusion is not always quantitative. They also typically focus on one subject for extended periods of time, instead of having short experiments.
History and humanities-type studies rely heavily on literature and stories, making them more narrative rather than quantifiable. When analyzing historical events, historians may find patterns in people’s actions or theories to explain why something happened. An example of this would be studying why Hitler became evil.
What are the different types of science?
Different disciplines use their scientific method differently, but all have some form of experimentation as a main component. These experiments can be conducted either to determine if the hypothesis is true or false, or to find out how much influence the factor has on the outcome.
The difference comes in what you choose to test your hypotheses with. A good way to understand this is to think about people in general. Everyone knows that eating fruits and vegetables is important for health, so testing whether or not this theory is correct would be determining whether or not eating more fruits and veggies makes you healthier.
With regards to sciences other than nutrition, experimenting with different treatments and seeing what works best is another way to test theories. For example, there are many ways to treat cancer; trying one treatment against another is an excellent way to determine which ones work better.
There are several reasons why using the scientific method is important to know when doing research. One being that it helps us gain knowledge, and knowing more about something makes us feel confident in its effectiveness (and less worried about potential negative effects). It also allows us to repeat the experiment under our own conditions to see how things go, enhancing reliability.
What are the different methods of scientific research?
There are three main types of scientific research: observational, experimental, and analytical. Each one is dependent upon the other two!
Observational studies look at real-life situations to see what effects an intervention or treatment has on the outcomes. For example, you could study how well educational courses work by looking at how many times people have them and how they go over them.
Experimental studies use controlled settings to determine the effect of an intervention or treatment. For instance, you could test whether taking more exercise helps you lose weight or not.
Analytical studies focus on determining cause and effect using statistical analysis. For example, we would analyze why exercising makes you feel better in this article.
All three of these approaches have been used extensively in science to prove theories about the world.
What are the different ways of gaining knowledge?
Another way to gain knowledge is through experimentation. This is what scientists do! Scientists gather or experiment with materials, processes, or ideas and see how well they work or not. They also test their hypotheses by putting new theories into practice.
Experimentation is just that- trying out something to see if it works. A lot of things we know today were made up experiments that failed but had to be retested until someone got them to work. For example, before radio waves people experimented with rubbing two pieces of metal together to see if sparks would fly.
They eventually figured out that electricity was being transferred when atoms in one piece interacted with those of another. We now call this phenomenon galvanic action.
What is the significance of the scientific method?
The significant aspect of the scientific method comes down to one thing: hypothesis testing. Hypothesis testing means asking questions and seeking answers by creating theories or hypotheses and then determining if they are supported or refuted by the evidence. If the theory is disproven, we reject the earlier conclusion and advance our knowledge, but only after replacing it with a new theory that better explains the evidence.
If a theory cannot be confirmed or rejected, we call it a non-theory. A good example of this is when people claim that chocolate is the key to happiness, which clearly does not work!
The term “scientific” is often used interchangeably with “rational” or “logical,” but there is an important difference. Using logic alone as your guiding principle can lead to some truly bizarre conclusions.