The Scientific Method

What makes science so, well, awesome?  In a nutshell, it’s the method by which scientists make sense of the world and ultimately add to the body of human knowledge.

It’s the method that allows other scientists to critique, challenge, replicate, poke holes, etc. in anything new.

Ladies and gentlemen, we present, the one, the only, scientific method!

Step 1: Make an observation (i.e., grass grows outside)

Step 2: Ask a Question (i.e., I wonder if grass needs sunlight in order to grow)

Step 3: Do Background Research (i.e., Let me learn a bit about what other scientists say about photosynthesis)

Step 4: Construct a Hypothesis (i.e., Only light from the sun can make grass grow)

Step 5: Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment that is Repeatable (i.e., I’ll grow two pots of grass: one outside in sunlight, and one inside under artificial light)

Step 6: Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion (i.e., hmmm, turns out grass grew in both instances – therefore I reject my hypothesis)

Step 7: Communicate Your Results (i.e., Dear world, grass does not need sunlight in order to grow)

There it is.  The scientific method.  That’s certainly a ridiculously simple example – but the point is, that’s how scientists do it regardless of what country they’re from or what language they speak.

To make the whole thing work, the results must be shared and the experiment (Step 5) must be repeatable.  If neither of those conditions are met, then you can feel free to dismiss the results with a big skeptical resounding boot to the keister!


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