Scientific method

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**Historical Development of the Scientific Method**
– Ancient expressions of empiricism and scientific method can be traced back to Stoics, Epicurus, Alhazen, Avicenna, and Roger Bacon.
– The scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries saw the advancement of empiricism by Francis Bacon and Robert Hooke.
– Rationalist approaches by René Descartes and inductivism by Isaac Newton were significant developments.
– Experiments were advocated and conducted by scientists like Giambattista della Porta, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei.
– The term ‘scientific method’ emerged in the 19th century due to institutional development of science and the need for clear boundaries between science and non-science.

**Key Elements and Processes of the Scientific Method**
– The scientific method involves making hypotheses, deriving predictions, and conducting experiments to test the hypotheses.
– Science builds on previous knowledge and unifies understanding over time.
– There are challenges in defining a fixed sequence for the scientific method.
– Inventiveness, sagacity, and genius are essential at every step of scientific inquiry.
– Experiments are tests of hypotheses and predictions and are a critical element of the scientific method.

**Definitions, Measurements, and Instruments in Scientific Method**
– Scientific method relies on sophisticated characterizations of subjects of investigation.
– Careful measurements, observations, and definitions are crucial.
– Scientific quantities are characterized by units of measure.
– Scientific instruments like thermometers and spectroscopes are essential for measurements.
– The systematic collection of measurements distinguishes science from pseudo-sciences.

**Hypothesis Development, Predictions, and Experiments**
– A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon.
– Hypotheses enable predictions through deductive reasoning.
– Predictions are essential components of the scientific method.
– Experiments are crucial to test hypotheses and predictions.
– Testing predictions with unknown outcomes increases the hypothesis’s credibility.

**Communication, Iteration, and Ethical Principles in Scientific Method**
– Openness and accountability are essential in scientific experimentation.
– Detailed records aid in reporting and reproducing experimental results.
– Scientific work is accepted when confirmed by others in the scientific community.
– Science strives for accuracy and honesty, and ethical principles are crucial in big science.
– Iterative processes in hypothesis formation and experimentation drive scientific progress.

Scientific method (Wikipedia)

The scientific method is an empirical method for acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. The scientific method involves careful observation coupled with rigorous scepticism, because cognitive assumptions can distort the interpretation of the observation. Scientific inquiry includes creating a hypothesis through inductive reasoning, testing it through experiments and statistical analysis, and adjusting or discarding the hypothesis based on the results.

Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, the underlying process is often similar. The process in the scientific method involves making conjectures (hypothetical explanations), deriving predictions from the hypotheses as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions. A hypothesis is a conjecture based on knowledge obtained while seeking answers to the question. The hypothesis might be very specific or it might be broad. Scientists then test hypotheses by conducting experiments or studies. A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, implying that it is possible to identify a possible outcome of an experiment or observation that conflicts with predictions deduced from the hypothesis; otherwise, the hypothesis cannot be meaningfully tested.

While the scientific method is often presented as a fixed sequence of steps, it represents rather a set of general principles. Not all steps take place in every scientific inquiry (nor to the same degree), and they are not always in the same order.

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