Scientific method Definition and 6 Discussions

The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, the underlying process is frequently the same from one field to another. The process in the scientific method involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions. A hypothesis is a conjecture, based on knowledge obtained while seeking answers to the question. The hypothesis might be very specific, or it might be broad. Scientists then test hypotheses by conducting experiments or studies. A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, implying that it is possible to identify a possible outcome of an experiment or observation that conflicts with predictions deduced from the hypothesis; otherwise, the hypothesis cannot be meaningfully tested.The purpose of an experiment is to determine whether observations agree with or conflict with the predictions derived from a hypothesis. Experiments can take place anywhere from a garage to CERN's Large Hadron Collider. There are difficulties in a formulaic statement of method, however. Though the scientific method is often presented as a fixed sequence of steps, it represents rather a set of general principles. Not all steps take place in every scientific inquiry (nor to the same degree), and they are not always in the same order.

View More On
  1. P

    Methodology / Philosophy of Science

    Summary:: When experimenting to improve a theory, account for the fact that your experimental equipment is made using the very same theory which you are trying to improve. 1.) It would take many decades (~ 80 years?) to design and make equipment entirely using a proposed new theory which has...
  2. R

    B Examples of discoveries without a hypothesis?

    The scientific method is HYPOTHESIS -> EXPERIMENT -> ANALYZE -> CONCLUSION. There are special cases where there is no HYPOTHESIS. Can you give some examples of things discovered without giving a HYPOTHESIS? That is, they do an experiment and they discover something new without a hypothesis...
  3. V

    B Can you prove anything using the Scientific Method?

    I am studying the scientific method and have come to the following conclusion. Since X -> Y does not imply X is true (or real), it is impossible for the scientific method (SM) to prove that anything is true. So like mathematics, the scientific method builds knowledge on axioms which cannot be...
  4. B

    Is the object of an experiment a variable?

    Is the object of an experiment a variable?
  5. bapowell

    Insights Scientific Inference and How We Come to Know Stuff. Part 2 - Comments

    bapowell submitted a new PF Insights post Scientific Inference and How We Come to Know Stuff. II. Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  6. S

    2 theories, same experimental predictions, can one fail but

    "2 theories, same experimental predictions, can one fail but not the other ?" (above was intented to be the title, got truncated) Let’s say we have 2 physical theories, call them A and B, that make the same experimentally verifieable predictions. But they are based on different postulates. And...