Do scientists need the Scientific Method to perform a meaningful experiment? It is undeniable that the best way to solve a problem in science is through a series of steps that lead to the solution. Since early stages in the development of Science, scientists have had the need of following certain steps in order to solve problems they were curious about to research. According to historians, Isaac Newton was the first researcher to complete the early process of the scientific method. (Yahoo Answers , 2006)
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The history of the scientific method begins in the Greeks civilization.greeks were the first ones who used observation and measurement to learn about the world. Aristoteles was the founder of the empirical science, but the muslims were the ones who developed the scientific process. They became the promotors of the scientific method. Galileo Galilei is given all the credit for being the creator of The Scientific Method. Meanwhile Brtish, Italians, French, and the Germans contributed to the methodology during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Among them are James Bacon, Renee Descartes, and Isaac Newton. It was between 19th and 20th century when scientists such as John Dewey and Morris R. Cohen spoke about the scientific method in America. (Edmund, 2000-2009)
The scientific method is the process of asking and answering a specific question by performing experiment and observing the results obtained. It involves a series of steps that go from identifying a problem to a conclusion and, therefore, the publishing of the work to the scientific community around the world. This process includes the following steps:
Identify a problem, or ask a question.
Gather information, which consist in researching about the topic. Find relevant information about the theme being investigating.
Develop a hypothesis, which is an educated guess or prediction of what the researcher thinks might happen.
Perform an experiment to prove the hypothesis, or educated guess.
Record and analyze data to see if the hypothesis was right or wrong. If your hypothesis is wrong, the researcher has to go back the process and restate the hypothesis. When the hypothesis is right the scientist draw conclusions and then publishes his work. (Science Buddies, 2012)
Identifying a problem and asking a question are the base of the scientific method.
Without a question to answer there is no need to develop a hypothesis or develop an investigation. The research question, the problem observed is the base. The researcher questions himself why a phenomenon occurs. From this, the other steps in the scientific method develop. (Science Stuff, 2007)
When gathering information, observation is fundamental. Observation includes the use of the five senses to collect data. In this step it is important to record the information that is relevant to the investigation. It also includes research about the topic. (Science Stuff, 2007)
The hypothesis is an explanation of why the phenomenon occurs; it is the educated guess. It proposes a statement in the “Ifâ€¦Thenâ€¦Because” format. It is the scientist’s proposal to answer the question formulated at the beginning of the investigation. The hypothesis can be conceived as a prediction of what the scientist expects it is going to happen. (Science Stuff, 2007)
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The experiment is the step where scientists perform their tests and observe everything and figures out if the experimentation is going as they planned. In this step, different factors play important roles. These factors or variables are of great relevance in experiments. The variables can be independent, dependent, constants, and control. The independent variable is the factor that changes throughout the experiment. The dependent variable is the one that is being measured. In other words, the dependent variable could be the impact of the antibiotic on the bacteria. An independent variable is the presumed cause, whereas the dependent variable is the presumed effect. For example, if a scientist is investigating the effect of antibiotics on specific bacteria, the independent variable could be the amount of antibiotic used. The control is the standard of measurement in the experiment. It is a standard of comparison, the reference investigators use to compare their results.
As scientists investigate, they need to record data while they observe the experiment progressing. They use different tools to record this data. Sometimes it is useful to keep a journal to record in a more detailed way what is going on in their experiment. Another important tool used by scientists when recording and analyzing data is charts and graphs. Bar graphs and pie charts get used frequently in science. These tools help visualize and display the information in a more effective way. (Science Stuff, 2007)
The last step of the scientific method, draw a conclusion. In this step, scientists approve or reject the hypothesis formulated at the beginning. They conclude if their conjecture was right or wrong. In other words, the conclusion is a summary of the statements that have being proved throughout the experiment to answer the original question. In this step, it is required to have an answer, to tell if the hypothesis was true or false. In this conclusion scientists include the data that helped them confirm the hypothesis, but if the hypothesis was not confirmed scientist need to evaluate the process to find out what was the error. They should review everything that might cause a difference in results from what it was expected. (Science Stuff, 2007)
In order to obtain a valid or reliable, scientists should repeat the experiment many times to see if the results are the same. This process could be tedious, but it will help confirm that the experiement is accurate. This helps find out if there was an error in the first experimentation. Performing an experiment only once does not provide enough information to comfirm or reject a hypopthesis.
Scientist have used the scientific method to figure out explanations to different phenomenon. The scientist used the scientific method to come up with scientific laws and scientific theories. A scientific theory is an explanation of a phenomenon obtained by reasoning, observing , and experimenting. An example of scientific theory is Darwin’s theory of evolution. On the other hand, a scientific law tries to describe a phenomenon that occurs in nature. An example of Scientific law is E = mc² referring to the speed of light in a vacumm. In most cases, scientists do not have the technology to model the phenomenon in study. But by studying and investigating it, they can conclude and formulate a scientific law.
They have also used the scientific method to discover how technology affects the results in an experiment. When following the scientific method, technology has an important role. As technology has developed, scientists have had the opportunity to use it in their doings, being able to perform actions that facilitate the process. Technology affects science in a positive way, helping people gain knowledge. There are innumerable processes that are possible today thanks to the use of technology that were inimaginable long time ago. Many of the phenomenon that have been observed since ever have finally found their explantions just because of the application of technology in science.
The scientific method is extremely important for researchers and scientists. They use the scientific method everytime they have a new discovery in science. The scientific method has 5 steps that are required for an investigation: identify a problem, research about the topic, formulate a hypothesis, perform an experiment, and record and analyze data from the observations made during the experiment. An extremely interesting fact about science is that it is not affected negatively by technology; on the contrary, technology is a useful tool in today’s generation. As Robert M. Pirsig “Traditional scientific method has always been at the very best, 20 – 20 hindsight. It is good for seeing where you have been. It’s good for testing the truth of what you think you know, but it can’t tell you where you ought to go.” (Thinkexist, 1999-2012)
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