Scientific Method

The Scientific Method as explained in Wikipedia

Click Here to Get to Scientific Method

Take special notice of the graphic available in Wikipedia.


Important “steps” within the Scientific Method” as a process:

Formulation of a Question






External Reviews

Data Recording and Sharing

Because the task of determining the quality of a source of information is very complicated, it would be useful to see how much of the information in the resource seems to align with the process described above.  It would be particularly useful to focus on the kind of “testing” that is evident in the collection of the information, the kind of “analysis” the information was subjected to, whether of not the information was “replicated” in other people’s work, and whether or not the information was subjected to “external reviews”.  Data which is “kept secret” for various reasons could be more suspect!  The “sharing” of data with the public is also a process that reinforces the notion that the information based on the data would be more trustworthy!


More from Wikipedia (from a search of “Scientific Method”

Scientific inquiry

Scientific inquiry generally aims to obtain knowledge in the form of testable explanations that can be used to predict the results of future experiments. This allows scientists to gain a better understanding of the topic being studied, and later be able to use that understanding to intervene in its causal mechanisms (such as to cure disease). The better an explanation is at making predictions, the more useful it frequently can be, and the more likely it is to continue explaining a body of evidence better than its alternatives. The most successful explanations, which explain and make accurate predictions in a wide range of circumstances, are often called scientific theories.

Most experimental results do not produce large changes in human understanding; improvements in theoretical scientific understanding is typically the result of a gradual process of development over time, sometimes across different domains of science.[44] Scientific models vary in the extent to which they have been experimentally tested and for how long, and in their acceptance in the scientific community. In general, explanations become accepted over time as evidence accumulates on a given topic, and the explanation in question is more powerful than its alternatives at explaining the evidence. Often the explanations are altered over time, or explanations are combined to produce new explanations.

Properties of scientific inquiry

Scientific knowledge is closely tied to empirical findings, and can remain subject to falsification if new experimental observation incompatible with it is found. That is, no theory can ever be considered final, since new problematic evidence might be discovered. If such evidence is found, a new theory may be proposed, or (more commonly) it is found that modifications to the previous theory are sufficient to explain the new evidence. The strength of a theory can be argued to be related to how long it has persisted without major alteration to its core principles.

Theories can also subject to subsumption by other theories. For example, thousands of years of scientific observations of the planets were explained almost perfectly by Newton’s laws. However, these laws were then determined to be special cases of a more general theory (relativity), which explained both the (previously unexplained) exceptions to Newton’s laws and predicting and explaining other observations such as the deflection of light by gravity. Thus, in certain cases independent, unconnected, scientific observations can be connected to each other, unified by principles of increasing explanatory power.[45]

Since new theories might be more comprehensive than what preceded them, and thus be able to explain more than previous ones, successor theories might be able to meet a higher standard by explaining a larger body of observations than their predecessors.[45] For example, the theory of evolution explains the diversity of life on Earth, how species adapt to their environments, and many other patterns observed in the natural world;[46][47] its most recent major modification was unification with genetics to form the modern evolutionary synthesis. In subsequent modifications, it has also subsumed aspects of many other fields such asbiochemistry and molecular biology.

Beliefs and biases

Flying gallop falsified; see image below.

Muybridge’s photographs of The Horse in Motion, 1878, were used to answer the question whether all four feet of a galloping horse are ever off the ground at the same time. This demonstrates a use of photography in science.

Scientific methodology often directs that hypotheses be tested in controlled conditions wherever possible. This is frequently possible in certain areas, such as in the biological sciences, and more difficult in other areas, such as in astronomy. The practice of experimental control and reproducibility can have the effect of diminishing the potentially harmful effects of circumstance, and to a degree, personal bias. For example, pre-existing beliefs can alter the interpretation of results, as in confirmation bias; this is aheuristic that leads a person with a particular belief to see things as reinforcing their belief, even if another observer might disagree (in other words, people tend to observe what they expect to observe).

A historical example is the belief that the legs of a galloping horse are splayed at the point when none of the horse’s legs touches the ground, to the point of this image being included in paintings by its supporters. However, the first stop-action pictures of a horse’s gallop by Eadweard Muybridge showed this to be false, and that the legs are instead gathered together.[48] Another important human bias that plays a role is a preference for new, surprising statements (see appeal to novelty), which can result in a search for evidence that the new is true.[2] In contrast to this standard in the scientific method, poorly attested beliefs can be believed and acted upon via a less rigorous heuristic,[49]sometimes taking advantage of the narrative fallacy that when narrative is constructed its elements become easier to believe.[50][51] Sometimes, these have their elements assumed a priori, or contain some other logical or methodological flaw in the process that ultimately produced them.[52]


The job of determining whether to trust a source of information or not is really extremely difficult, and like science itself is dynamic and subject of an evolution of trust.