Scientific Method: What It Is, Definition, Steps And Characteristics

We explain what the scientific method is and its characteristics. In addition, the main steps that make it up, examples and more.

What is the scientific method?

The scientific method is one of the research processes that, through a series of ordered steps, allows carrying out a study , acquiring new knowledge or corroborating the veracity of certain phenomena. The process can be repeated several times in order to verify the veracity or not of the result.

Scientific methodology is the discipline that analyzes the different research methods, such as the logical-deductive, analytical, comparative or the scientific method. The objective of methodology as a discipline is to establish criteria and continuous improvement in scientific procedures.

The science is a branch of knowledge that is based on objective and verifiable data obtained by observation , experimentation and the use of reason, to establish conclusions , theories or laws. Depending on the object of study, various reasoning strategies are applied in each method, such as statistical, deductive or qualitative.

Characteristics of the scientific method

Characteristics of the scientific method The scientific method can be used in different types of studies.

The scientific method is a research process that can be used in various types of studies, such as experimental, descriptive, case studies, surveys, among others. In any of these cases, the scientific method is characterized by:

  • Nourish yourself with concrete data that can be measured, both qualitatively and quantitatively and that are verifiable (they are not mere beliefs or ideas).
  • Include variables, that is, causes or effects. These variables can be dependent (those that are based on or depend on an independent variable) or independent variables (those that can change without altering the experiment).
  • Establish a hypothesis that will answer the questions asked. The answers can support or refute the hypothesis.
  • Analyze and investigate using different reasoning strategies.

What are the steps of the scientific method?

What are the steps of the scientific method? The scientific method is an iterative process, not a series of steps with a beginning and an end.

The scientific method consists of five main steps or stages:

  • Observation . It consists of paying attention, directly or indirectly, to what you want to study or investigate.
  • Questions. It consists of defining questions based on observation.
  • Hypothesis. It consists of formulating a tentative premise or statement that may or may not answer the questions.
  • Experimentation. It consists of carrying out tests and experiments that will confirm or refute the hypothesis.
  • Conclusions . It consists of analyzing the results to obtain deductions about the hypothesis.

Most of the investigations under the scientific method are repetitive processes, instead of being a unique series of steps with a beginning and an end. That is, if the hypothesis fails to respond adequately to the questions posed, the methodological analysis process can be repeated, modifying the independent variables or the questions. If the hypothesis answers the questions adequately, the analysis process can be repeated to verify its validity.

The scientific method allows to obtain conclusions about a certain phenomenon. However, the conclusions may become obsolete, both due to the passage of time and due to technological advances, which allow us to optimize our ability to understand the world around us. Scientists often doubt some hypotheses previously analyzed by other experts, in order to assert their veracity or to find something that has not been detected at the time.

Scientist method example

The scientific method is a process that is applied both in the analysis of daily life and in complex studies of specialized research. An example from everyday life is the following situation: that when trying to turn on the desktop computer, it does not respond. The steps that are usually applied to solve the problem are:

  • Observation. The equipment is checked with the naked eye: its appearance, that the cables are connected and that there is electrical current available.
  • Questions. Doubts and possible deductions from the problem arise after confirming that the connections are correct. Did the computer burn out? Are any of the cables failing?
  • Experimentation. A first test is made of unplugging all the cables connected to the device to reconnect them. It is tried to turn on the computer again and this time, it starts as usual.
  • Conclusion. It was confirmed that the problem was in some connection of the cables that were not correctly embedded in their respective card and that is why they did not make contact.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.

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