scientific method a formal method to ask and explore questions

scientific method

is a way to investigate phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge

in order to be considered scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence

steps of the scientific method

ask a question:

the scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you observe: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where

the scientific method requires that the question be something you can measure, preferably with a number

do background research:

rather than starting from scratch in putting together a plan for answering your question, you want to use library and Internet research to help you find the best way to do things and insure that you don't repeat mistakes from the past

construct a hypothesis:

a hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work, it is an attempt to answer your question with an explanation that can be tested

a good hypothesis allows you to then make a prediction:

"If [I do this] _____, then [this]_____ will happen."

state both your hypothesis and the resulting prediction you will be testing, predictions must be easy to measure

test your hypothesis:

do an Experiment: your experiment tests whether your prediction is accurate and thus your hypothesis is supported or not

it is important for your experiment to be a fair test, you conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same

you should also repeat your experiments several times to make sure that the first results weren't just an accident

analyze your data and draw a conclusion:

once your experiment is complete, you collect your measurements and analyze them to see if they support your hypothesis or not

scientists often find that their predictions were not accurate and their hypothesis was not supported, and in such cases they will communicate the results of their experiment and then go back and construct a new hypothesis and prediction based on the information they learned during their experiment

this starts much of the process of the scientific method over again, even if they find that their hypothesis was supported, they may want to test it again in a new way

communicate your results:

to complete your science lab you will communicate your results to others in a final report

scientists do almost exactly the same thing by publishing their final report in a scientific journal or by presenting their results at a scientific meeting

variables in an experiment:

there are three types of variables in an experiment the independent variable, controlled variables, and dependent variables

independent variable:

an independent variable is a variable that is manipulated to determine the value of a dependent variable

in an experiment it is the one thing you are changing

controlled variables:

the controlled variables are the variables that stay the same for all the parts of the experiment

dependent variable:

the dependent variable is what is being measured in an experiment

experimental bias

the intentional or unintentional influence that the scientist may have on a study

a bias will prejudice the results of the experiment and encourage one outcome over another

experimental error

errors that may occur in the science experiment

types of experimental error include human error, or mistakes in measurement, mistakes in the design of the experiment itself, or random error, caused by environmental conditions or other unpredictable factors

results of experimental bias or error:

lead to faulty interpretations of data or invalid results and conclusions

Created By
Athanasios Bayiates
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