How to Use the Scientific Method: Structure and Characteristics

If you are looking for the most complete information about the scientific method and its characteristics, stay in this post.

Here we explain everything you need to know about this method, the definition, its characteristics, the different stages, and its structure. If you don’t fully understand the topic, buy a research paper or essay from professional writers. Shall we start?

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What is the Scientific Method?

The scientific method is, as the word says, a method to obtain scientific knowledge, it is rigorous and objective.  It is an orderly, systematic, and reliable system when it is elaborated following the appropriate steps. These are executed sequentially.

Also, this method is mostly applied in scientific research, to obtain scientific knowledge on a given topic. In addition, it has greatly contributed to the development of many aspects of human life. One of the great proofs is the advances we have seen and experienced in history.

It is fundamental in technology, in advances in medicine, and in a variety of branches of science that, when applied, have contributed to development in general. Among the essential steps of the scientific method are: observation, hypothesis, experimentation, theory, and conclusion. You may come across a few more depending on the bibliography.

Why the Scientific Method?

The human being, being a rational being, needs an explanation of the phenomena that occur in the world. Depending on the implications of the study or the field of action, there is a series of methods that are of great help for the discovery.

The logical method is not the same as the historical method, just as the deductive method is not the same as the inductive method. However, the scientific method is predominant and can be applied to almost all sciences, since it is based on two main pillars: falsifiability and reproducibility:

  • Falsifiability. It is a quality possessed by laws, theories, or propositions, which the scientific method considers as true, and which are reevaluated as false. This idea was originated by the Austrian philosopher, Karl Popper, and allows differentiating scientific knowledge from that which is not.
  • Reproducibility. Quality that given scientific knowledge has, and can be replicated by another person, at another time and under the same conditions, finally obtaining the same result.

Scientific Method and its Characteristics

Next, we will develop the qualities of the scientific method and its main characteristics, so that you can take them into account when making your own.

Rational

This method is rational, which means that you have to base it on logic, and reason, and totally avoid subjectivity. It is based on objective judgments, reasoning, and concepts, which means that you cannot rely on beliefs or appearances produced by emotions, sensations, personal preferences, or feelings.

That is to say, the basis of the scientific method cannot be biased points of view.

Analytical

It is analytical because it seeks to understand a complete situation. For this, you have to break down a whole into small parts, and then analyze each of the elements independently, and exhaustively.

In addition, you must understand the links between these elements and then explain their interrelationships. This is one of the reasons why the problems of science are narrow at the beginning and get wider and wider as the research goes deeper and deeper into each topic.

Precise and clear

Precision and clarity are relevant characteristics of the scientific method, and are achieved in the following way:

  • You must be precise. The method applies a formal language, where the language is artificial and signs and symbols are used, these have concrete meanings thanks to the rules of designation.
  • The problem must be stated as clearly as possible so that there is no ambiguity or confusion. The questions must be differentiated from other concepts or ideas.

Verifiable scientific method

The aim is to obtain scientific knowledge, and this knowledge must be verifiable. That is, it must pass the test of experience.  Scientific knowledge has to be fulfilled, regardless of the place. It can be verified, checked, and tested by other researchers.

Explanatory

This method tries to explain facts and laws, it seeks to answer questions. You have to explain why things happen, how they happen, how they originate, and why in such a way and not in another.

You will try to explain with this method objective, detailed and exhaustive explanations based on laws, to the problem you raised.

Scientific

You must apply the method to have scientific knowledge since its purpose is to achieve the exact, factual truth.  For this, you must adapt the ideas to the facts, make one observation, and, also, experiment, until you confirm the falsity or veracity of the hypotheses.

Structure

The scientific method is made up of several phases that you have to follow in an orderly fashion to effectively achieve the objective.  When looking for solutions to problems, it is done systematically, following the steps of the scientific method.

The Main Steps of the Scientific Method

1. Observation and problem statement

First, you must identify the problem, thinking about what you want to find, this will be the question to solve.

Then, once the problem has been identified, you will move on to observation, which is a careful and critical analysis of the phenomenon you want to study. Study and note the different circumstances and factors that seem to have influence.  After you analyze and observe, you will proceed with the hypothesis.

2. The hypothesis of the scientific method

In this step, you will propose explanations, which can be or not. Explanations of a probable solution to the problem will then be subjected to experimentation to test its feasibility.  A hypothesis has to be tested through repeated experiments.

3. Experimentation

 

In this step, you must submit your hypothesis to a series of tests through experimentation. This involves observing the phenomenon you are investigating, under carefully controlled and previously prepared conditions.

At this stage you must use the right tools to accurately measure the results of the experiment, whether they are laboratories, measuring instruments, or prepared environments.

If repeating the experiment several times reaffirms your hypothesis, then you will move on to the next step. If the opposite occurs, then you will have to reformulate the hypothesis with the knowledge you have and repeat the process again.

4. Organization

This refers to the convenient organization of the results, taking into account the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the experiment. Compare the experiments, in this way you will verify that the hypotheses are fulfilled, to be later considered as laws. They will be expressed in formal terms.

5. Theory

If the repetition of the experimentation reaffirms the hypothesis that you proposed, then they become theories.  Theories are very important and serve as a guide for future experiments, and theories are constantly being tested.

6. Verification and prediction of the scientific method

Finally, the theory is useful for the prediction of phenomena, and can also serve to affirm the links between various processes of that phenomenon.

The scientific knowledge you acquire, thanks to the scientific method, can be used by other researchers, to carry out new investigations, test them again, or even look for flaws or define their limits.

Final words

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