What is the Scientific Method?
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The scientific method involves following
six general steps in sequence. The
basic steps are:
Purpose, or Research Question:
The problem or
research question is the single most important part of the scientific
method. Every part of your project is done to answer this question. The
research question is sometimes formed as a statement and is called the
"Problem" or "Problem Statement." What is your
goal or what idea are you trying to test? What is the scientific
question that you are trying to answer?
The hypothesis is an
"educated guess," formed as a statement that you propose to be
the answer to the research question. Explain how you think your project
can demonstrate your purpose. You
should try to state the results you are predicting in measurable terms.
Not always will your conclusion match your hypothesis.
all supplies and equipment used in conducting your research or
experiment. Your list of materials should include all of the
ingredients of the procedure.
procedure is a somewhat detailed, step - by - step description of how
you conducted your experiment. Be clear about the variables vs.
your controls. Be specific about how you measure results to prove
or disprove your hypothesis. Your procedure should be like a
recipe whereby another person should easily be able to follow it.
Photos depicting the steps are good to have on your display board.
results are usually in the form of a statement that explains or
interprets the data. Results can be in the form of raw data,
graphs, general summarization of what your data is telling you.
Photos can also be used here. Example: "Test Plant 3 showed
little difference in growth rate as compared to the Control Plant."
conclusion is a summary of the research and the results of the
experiment. This is where you answer your problem or research question.
You make a statement of whether your data supported your hypothesis or
not. You may have data that supported part of your hypothesis and not
another part. You may also have data that did not support your
hypothesis at all. In this case, you may explain why the results were
The scientific method
is not cast in concrete but it is systematic, straightforward and easy
enough to learn and use that non-scientists can make use of it for their
own interests. And interestingly, many scientific discoveries come about by accident, by getting unexpected
results and accidentally asking questions that had not even been asked.
Who knows, perhaps YOU will be the one to make the next big discovery!