Scientific Method

The scientific method (or simply scientific method) is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. The Oxford English Dictionary says that the scientific method is: "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."

The chief characteristic which distinguishes the scientific method from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, supporting a theory when a theory's predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false. Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them. These steps must be repeatable, to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many independently derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure. Theories, in turn, may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context.

Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible in order to reduce biased interpretations of results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, giving them the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established (when data is sampled or compared to chance).

Read more about Scientific MethodOverview, Scientific Inquiry, Elements of The Scientific Method, Communication and Community, Philosophy and Sociology of Science, History, Relationship With Mathematics

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Scientific Method - Relationship With Mathematics
... Mathematical work and scientific work can inspire each other ... and heuristic show that the mathematical method and the scientific method differ in detail, while nevertheless resembling each other in using iterative or recursive steps Mathematical ...
Timeline Of Chemistry - Pre-17th Century
... Prior to the acceptance of the scientific method and its application to the field of chemistry, it is somewhat controversial to consider many of the people listed below as "chemists" in the ... the father of chemistry", develops an early experimental method for chemistry, and isolates numerous acids, including hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, citric acid, acetic acid, tartaric acid, and aqua regia ... he lays out an early framework for the scientific method ...
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... Michael Faraday Publishes Opus Maius, which among other things, proposes an early form of the scientific method, and contains results of his experiments with gunpowder - Roger Bacon ...
Pragmaticism - The Clarification of Ideas in Inquiry
... His pragmatism is a method for fruitfully sorting out conceptual confusions caused, for example, by distinctions that make (sometimes needful) formal yet not practical differences ... Rather, Peirce's pragmatic maxim is the heart of his pragmatism as a method of experimentational mental reflection arriving at conceptions in terms of conceivable ... Peirce's pragmatism, as method and theory of definitions and the clearness of ideas, is a department within his theory of inquiry, which he variously called "Methodeutic" and "Philosophical ...
Scientific Freedom
... Scientific freedom is the idea of freedom (in the sense of Freedom of thought and Freedom of the press) applied to natural science, in particular the ... Polanyi criticized the common view that the scientific method is purely objective and generates objective knowledge ... Polanyi cast this view as a misunderstanding of the scientific method and of the nature of scientific inquiry, generally ...

Famous quotes containing the words method and/or scientific:

    The method of scientific investigation is nothing but the expression of the necessary mode of working of the human mind. It is simply the mode in which all phenomena are reasoned about, rendered precise and exact.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95)

    We have our little theory on all human and divine things. Poetry, the workings of genius itself, which, in all times, with one or another meaning, has been called Inspiration, and held to be mysterious and inscrutable, is no longer without its scientific exposition. The building of the lofty rhyme is like any other masonry or bricklaying: we have theories of its rise, height, decline and fall—which latter, it would seem, is now near, among all people.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)