Scientific Method

There are certain rules that scientists follow in order to solve a problem. Just as a chef follows a recipe, scientists must follow the scientific method to assure that their results are consistent and accurate with each experiment. This also allows for experiments to be repeated many times and by others thus verifying the results. (Assures it is correct)

Find a problem to solve.

This requires a great deal of research .Sometimes more time is spent researching the problem than doing actual the experiments.

State a hypothesis

This is an intellectual prediction of the possible outcome of an experiment or a solution to the problem. This educated guess can only be made after a great deal of research.

Design a controlled experiment that tests the hypothesis

There must be two groups that are needed for this type of experiment:

  1. The control group contains all the parts of the experiment EXCEPT the one experimental factor being tested.
  2. The variable group contains all the factors of the control group PLUS the one factor that is being tested. This is also called the experimental group.

So the control group acts as a reference point or measuring stick to compare with the variable group. Any difference between the two groups can only be due to the one experimental factor that is being tested.

Sometimes the control group is blind. This means that the members of the control group do not realize that they are not even part of the experimental group. This is when the placebo is used. Many drugs are tested in this fashion by pharmaceutical companies to remove the "placebo effect".

There are two types of variables. The independent variable is always under your control. You can set the level of this factor at whatever you wish. Example: the amount of fertilizer given to a plant. The dependent variable relies upon the parameters set by the independent variable. Example: the height the plant will grow is dependent upon the amount of fertilizer it is given. So the change in height would be the dependent variable.

Review your results

About 99% of the time this requires that scientists restate their hypothesis. This means that scientists must go back to step 3 and design a new controlled experiment that will test a new hypothesis.

Draw conclusions

No assumptions can be made past the one and only experimental factor that is being tested. Just the facts that have been observed may be used as part of the conclusion.

Communicate the results with others

This can be done over the internet, in a scientific journal or by some other means. It is very important to communicate results because as you know research is one of the most important parts of conducting an experiment.

Open ended Questions

Now see if you can apply the scientific method to solve a simple problem.
Example: Who shall I take to the movie on Friday night?
Example: What is wrong with a car that will not start?