The scientific method is a procedure consisting of a series of steps with the goal of problem-solving and information-gathering. The scientific method begins with the recognition of a problem and a clear elaboration or description of the problem itself. A process of experimentation and data collection then follows. The final steps consist of the formulation and testing of a hypothesis or potential solution and conclusion. For people unaccustomed to using the scientific method, the process may seem abstract and unapproachable. With a little consideration and observation, any problem encountered in daily life is a potential possibility to use the scientific method.
The scientific method is best suited to solving problems without direct or simple answers. For example, a light bulb that burns out may simply need to be replaced. A light bulb that works intermittently is a much more suitable candidate for use of the scientific method, because of all of the potential causes of it not working.
Locate or identify a problem to solve. Your personal environment is a good place to start, either in the workplace, the home, or your town or city.
Describe the problem in detail. Make quantifiable observations, such as number of times of occurrence, duration, specific physical measurements, and so on.
Form a hypothesis about what the possible cause of the problem might be, or what a potential solution could be. Check if the previously collected data suggests a pattern or possible cause.
Test your hypothesis either through further observation of the problem or by creating an experiment that highlights the aspect of the problem you wish to test. For example, if you suspect a faulty wire is the cause of a light not working, you must find a way to isolate and test whether or not the wire is actually the cause.
Repeat the steps of observation, hypothesis formation and testing until you reach a conclusion that is reinforced by supporting data or directly solves the problem at hand.
- The scientific method is best suited to solving problems without direct or simple answers. For example, a light bulb that burns out may simply need to be replaced. A light bulb that works intermittently is a much more suitable candidate for use of the scientific method, because of all of the potential causes of it not working.
About the Author
Alex Jakubik began his writing career in 2000 with book-cover summaries for Barnes & Noble. He has also authored concert programs and travel blogs, and worked both nationally and internationally in the arts. Jakubik holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University and a Master of Music from Yale University.
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