Module 4 – The Scientific Method and Hypothesis Testing

The Scientific Method

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong” -  Albert Einstein.

An important aspect of research is that it is done following accepted methods that have been well established.  There is a process that begins with observations made about a process or object, the formation of a theory or hypothesis, predictions from reasoning based on deduction from the hypothesis, and finally a testing of the hypothesis through experimentation.  These steps form the basis of the scientific method.

There have been volumes of material written on the scientific method.  In fact, there are many different theories and beliefs about what exactly makes up the scientific method. There is much more detail available than we will go into in this module.  Instead, we will cover some methods of scientific thought which you may want to use as you develop your hypothesis and design your experiment. This module will also cover some important aspects of evaluating your experiments and results.

Some useful links:

A group of official definitions

A thorough, referenced discussion on the scientific method

Real, biology-based examples on the process of the method

Book on the method which may be worth an overview

A good argument on the danger of too literal of a view

 

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