Scientific method

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Science

scientificsciencesscientific knowledge
The scientific method is an empirical method of knowledge acquisition which has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century.
The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape.

Hypothesis

hypotheseshypotheticalhypothesized
It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings.
For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories.

Inductivism

inductivist
Important debates in the history of science concern rationalism, especially as advocated by René Descartes; inductivism and/or empiricism, as argued for by Francis Bacon, and rising to particular prominence with Isaac Newton and his followers; and hypothetico-deductivism, which came to the fore in the early 19th century.
Inductivism is the traditional model of scientific method attributed to Francis Bacon, who in 1620 vowed to subvert allegedly traditional thinking.

Francis Bacon

BaconSir Francis BaconBaconian
Important debates in the history of science concern rationalism, especially as advocated by René Descartes; inductivism and/or empiricism, as argued for by Francis Bacon, and rising to particular prominence with Isaac Newton and his followers; and hypothetico-deductivism, which came to the fore in the early 19th century.
His works are credited with developing the scientific method, and remained influential through the scientific revolution.

Experiment

experimentalexperimentationexperiments
It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings.
Scientific controls are a part of the scientific method.

History of science

historian of sciencemodern sciencehistory
Historian of science Daniel Thurs maintains that the scientific method is a myth or, at best, an idealization.
While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since classical antiquity (for example, by Thales and Aristotle), and the scientific method has been employed since the Middle Ages (for example, by Ibn al-Haytham and Roger Bacon), modern science began to develop in the early modern period, and in particular in the scientific revolution of 16th- and 17th-century Europe.

Empiricism

empiricistempiricalempirically
Important debates in the history of science concern rationalism, especially as advocated by René Descartes; inductivism and/or empiricism, as argued for by Francis Bacon, and rising to particular prominence with Isaac Newton and his followers; and hypothetico-deductivism, which came to the fore in the early 19th century. A strong formulation of the scientific method is not always aligned with a form of empiricism in which the empirical data is put forward in the form of experience or other abstracted forms of knowledge; in current scientific practice, however, the use of scientific modelling and reliance on abstract typologies and theories is normally accepted.
It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation.

Branches of science

scientific disciplineField of sciencescientific field
Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, they are frequently the same from one to another.
Natural science is a branch of science that seeks to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by applying an empirical and scientific method to the study of the universe.

Skepticism

skepticskepticalscepticism
It involves careful observation, which includes rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions about how the world works influence how one interprets a percept.
Scientific skepticism concerns testing beliefs for reliability, by subjecting them to systematic investigation using the scientific method, to discover empirical evidence for them.

Scientific Revolution

scientificscientific revolutionsscience
This model can be seen to underlie the scientific revolution.
In the 19th century, William Whewell described the revolution in science itself—the scientific method—that had taken place in the 15th–16th century.

Roger Bacon

BaconBacon, RogerRogeri Bacon
(This quotation is from Alhazen's critique of Ptolemy's books Almagest, Planetary Hypotheses, and Optics as translated into English by A. Mark Smith.) Roger Bacon, and William of Ockham.
He is sometimes credited (mainly since the 19th century) as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by Aristotle and by the Arab scientist Alhazen.

Ibn al-Haytham

AlhazenAlhacenal-Haytham
Different early expressions of empiricism and the scientific method can be found throughout history, for instance with the ancient Stoics, Epicurus, Alhazen,Alhazen argued the importance of forming questions and subsequently testing them: "How does light travel through transparent bodies? Light travels through transparent bodies in straight lines only.... We have explained this exhaustively in our Book of Optics. But let us now mention something to prove this convincingly: the fact that light travels in straight lines is clearly observed in the lights which enter into dark rooms through holes.... [T]he entering light will be clearly observable in the dust which fills the air. – Alhazen, Treatise on Light, translated into English from German by M. Schwarz, from "Abhandlung über das Licht", J. Baarmann (editor and translator from Arabic to German, 1882) Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft Vol 36 as quoted in.
He was also an early proponent of the concept that a hypothesis must be proved by experiments based on confirmable procedures or mathematical evidence—hence understanding the scientific method five centuries before Renaissance scientists.

Hypothetico-deductive model

hypothetico-deductive methodhypothetico-deductivedeductivism
Important debates in the history of science concern rationalism, especially as advocated by René Descartes; inductivism and/or empiricism, as argued for by Francis Bacon, and rising to particular prominence with Isaac Newton and his followers; and hypothetico-deductivism, which came to the fore in the early 19th century.
The hypothetico-deductive model or method is a proposed description of scientific method.

Scientific modelling

modelmodelingmodels
A strong formulation of the scientific method is not always aligned with a form of empiricism in which the empirical data is put forward in the form of experience or other abstracted forms of knowledge; in current scientific practice, however, the use of scientific modelling and reliance on abstract typologies and theories is normally accepted.
There is growing collection of methods, techniques and meta-theory about all kinds of specialized scientific modelling.

Karl Popper

PopperSir Karl PopperPopperian
Karl Popper advised scientists to try to falsify hypotheses, i.e., to search for and test those experiments that seem most doubtful.
Generally regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest philosophers of science, Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method in favour of empirical falsification.

Demarcation problem

demarcationproblem of demarcationdemarcate
The term "scientific method" emerged in the 19th century, when a significant institutional development of science was taking place and terminologies establishing clear boundaries between science and non-science, such as "scientist" and "pseudoscience", appeared.
The debate continues after over two millennia of dialogue among philosophers of science and scientists in various fields, and despite broad agreement on the basics of scientific method.

Observation

observerobservationsobserved
The purpose of an experiment is to determine whether observations agree with or conflict with the predictions derived from a hypothesis.
The scientific method requires observations of natural phenomena to formulate and test hypotheses.

Reproducibility

reproduciblereproducereplicability
If an experiment cannot be repeated to produce the same results, this implies that the original results might have been in error.
Reproducibility and replicability together are among the main beliefs of 'the scientific method'—with the concrete expressions of the ideal of such a method varying considerably across research disciplines and fields of study.

Scientific theory

theoryscientific theoriestheories
If a particular hypothesis becomes very well supported, a general theory may be developed.
A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaluation of results.

Data sharing

sharingdata-sharingdata
Though not typically required, they might be requested to supply this data to other scientists who wish to replicate their original results (or parts of their original results), extending to the sharing of any experimental samples that may be difficult to obtain.
Many funding agencies, institutions, and publication venues have policies regarding data sharing because transparency and openness are considered by many to be part of the scientific method.

Falsifiability

falsifiableunfalsifiablefalsification
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.
Declaring an unfalsifiable theory to be scientific would then be pseudoscience.

Inductive reasoning

inductioninductiveinductive logic
It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings.
According to Comte, scientific method frames predictions, confirms them, and states laws—positive statements—irrefutable by theology or by metaphysics.

Empirical evidence

empiricala posterioriempirical data
The scientific method is an empirical method of knowledge acquisition which has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century.
Normally, this validation is achieved by the scientific method of forming a hypothesis, experimental design, peer review, reproduction of results, conference presentation, and journal publication.

Scientific community

research communityscientific communitiescommunity
The scientific community and philosophers of science generally agree on the following classification of method components.
Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method.

Nature

naturalnatural worldnaturally
(The subjects can also be called or the unknowns.) For example, Benjamin Franklin conjectured, correctly, that St. Elmo's fire was electrical in nature, but it has taken a long series of experiments and theoretical changes to establish this.
This usage continued during the advent of modern scientific method in the last several centuries.