The Methods of Science

Science is the use of scientific inquiry to form testable explanations and make predictions. While science is a subject, think about science as a process.

Scientific inquiry is a process for investigating the natural world.

Science changes our understanding, but as more is learned, our understanding improves over time. Science is a process of discovery that changes our understanding over time.

Limitations of Science

Scienctific inquiry has a limited scope. Science is limited to hypotheses that are testable. What are some things that are not testable?

  • Supernatural
  • Moral & ethical issues (should do, right or wrong, and good or bad)
  • Art, music, literature, and other subjective (opinion based) domains

Scientific Method

Steps

  1. Ask questions and state the problem.
  2. Research and gather information.
  3. Form a hypothesis.
  4. Test your hypothesis by designing an experiment.
  5. Analyze the data from your experiment and from inferences.
  6. Draw conclusions.

If your experiment does not support your hypothesis, then you modify your original hypothesis, forming a new hypothesis to test, and repeat steps 4–6 above.

If your experiment supports your hypothesis, then you repeat the experiment, or have other people independently do the experiment to see if they get the same result.

Note: Scientists do not always follow these exact steps. They may add new steps, or skip steps.

Overview of Scientific Method

Standards of Measurement