Scientific Method

Biology is one of the major sciences. Scientists have acquired biological knowledge through processes known as scientific methods. There is no one scientific method. The steps of a scientific method make up an orderly way of gaining information about the biological world. The knowledge gained is sometimes useful in solving particular problems and is sometimes simply of interest without any practical application at the time.

A scientific method requires a systematic search for information by observation and experimentation. The basic steps of any scientific method are stating a problem, collecting information, forming a hypothesis, experimenting to test the hypothesis, recording and analyzing data, and forming a conclusion.

Observation

The first step in a scientific method is stating a problem based on observation. In this stage, the scientist recognizes that something has happened and that it occurs repeatedly. Therefore, the scientist formulates a question or states a problem for investigation. The next step in the scientific method is to explore resources that may have information about that question or problem. Here, the scientist conducts library research and interacts with other scientists to develop knowledge about the question at hand.

Hypothesis, experimentation, and analysis

Next, a hypothesis is formed, meaning that the scientist proposes a possible solution to the question, realizing that the answer could be incorrect. The scientist tests the hypothesis through experiments that include experimental and control groups. Data from the experiments is collected, recorded, and analyzed.

Conclusion

After analyzing the data, the scientist draws a conclusion. A valid conclusion must be based on the facts observed in the experiments. If the data from repeated experiments support the hypothesis, the scientist will publish the hypothesis and experimental data for other scientists to review and discuss.

Theory and law

Other scientists may not only repeat the experiments but may carry out additional experiments to challenge the findings. If the hypothesis is tested and confirmed often enough, the scientific community calls the hypothesis a theory. Then numerous additional experiments test the theory using rigorous experimental methods. Repeated challenges to the theory are presented. If the results continue to support the theory, the theory gains the status of a scientific law. A scientific law is a uniform or constant fact of nature. An example of a law of biology is that all living things are composed of cells.