What is the scientific method?

If you're a defender that's truly interested in becoming a zoologist, scientist, or working in depth with science & nature, chances are you're going to come across an idea that you need to test. Look no further than right here to learn the process scientists use to get the truth - the scientific method! So what is the scientific method? Well, it's a process with a series of steps to test observations and answer questions scientists have. This process is often tweaked and changed depending on the type of science, and the question asked - as a scientist that wants to know about how the earth's core has changed over time cannot actually go to the core to study it, or go back in time and test it over millions of years to observe the changes. But the general scientific method follows a specific formula to give us more information about the natural world:

  • First, you must ask a question - Why is the sky blue? Why don't most mammals lay eggs? What makes a volcano erupt? Focusing on what you want to learn is the first step to finding the answer.
  • Next, a scientist will create a hypothesis. This is where you turn the question created into a statement, that you will then try to prove with your experiment. If the original question is "why is the sky blue?" then the hypothesis could be something like: The sky is blue because of the colors of the ocean reflecting back.
  • Research and prediction comes next - while experimenting is the big part of the scientific method, it's important to research experiments that others have done, to read and learn all you can on the subject, and head into your next steps with the most information possible. You also want to create predictions for your experiment - If i do THIS, then THIS should happen - is the normal formula, and as you experiment to test your hypothesis you will record the results to see if they fall in line with your predictions.
  • After research and prediction, it's finally time to test your hypothesis with an experiment. The purpose of your experiment should be to test if your prediction is correct, and it's important to keep things consistent in your experiment. You will not only need to do the experiment multiple times, to make sure the results are correct and there isn't an error or accident, but you should also only change 1 thing at a time to look for differences. Keep every other part of the experiment the same so you can observe and record what the differences are from changing 1 aspect. For example, if you are testing how baking soda and vinegar can make a volcano like eruption and want to see which one makes it erupt more, then you will only change 1 thing in further experiments. Keep the baking soda and the same volcano, room, temperature, and everything else, just switch vinegar with water. Or keep the vinegar and everything else, but switch the baking soda with something else like flour. Changing only 1 thing in an experiment to discover the differences is very important to keeping the test accurate, as changing many different parts at once can ultimately change the experiment itself!
  • After repeating the experiment multiple times and recording the results, finally we can look at all the data we recorded, and analyze it. Did the results fall in line with your hypothesis and prediction? Were there any errors in any of the experiments? Most of the time, scientists find that their predictions were NOT accurate, but just because you were wrong doesn't mean the experiment failed! You now can use this new information, go back and create a new hypothesis with predictions, and start the method over again!

The scientific method has helped us explore and discover many things about the world around us, by giving us a solid formula to test and observe results, and come to logical scientific conclusions. Whether it's testing results we already know are true, to see them firsthand yourself, or a scientist breaking new ground and discovering something brand new through an experiment, the process of the scientific method is an extremely important tool that is one of the first steps to learning as much as we can about the world and universe around us!

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