What is a scientific method?

What is a scientific method? Specify the role of the teacher in this method.

Many researchers have defined the scientific method with a slight difference but the main theme is the rigorous approach adopted to resolve the science and social science problems.

According to Keyes (2010) definitions of the scientific method can be found in textbooks in both the social and natural sciences and, while some variations exist, all have certain common features. Students collected a number of definitions of the scientific methods from textbooks in the natural (“hard”) sciences and then were asked to compare these to the one provided in their sociology textbook.

Consider the following definitions in the light of different disciplines.

In their geology book, Wicander & Monroe as cited in Keyes (2010) defined the scientific method – a logical, orderly approach that involves gathering data, formulating and testing hypotheses, and proposing theories. McMurry & Fay, (2008) in their chemistry book defined it as “Scientific method – Scientific questions must be asked, and experiments must be carried out to find their answers”. In the context of biology “The classic vision of the scientific method is that observations lead to hypotheses that in turn make experimentally testable predictions” (Raven, Losos, Mason, Singer, & Johnson, 2008). In the psychological point of view “The scientific method refers to a set of assumptions,

 and procedures that guide researchers in creating questions to investigate, in generating evidence, and drawing conclusions” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2000). Whereas in the context of sociology “A scientific method is an approach to data collection that relies on two assumptions:

(1) Knowledge about the world is acquired through observation, and

(2) the truth of the knowledge is confirmed by verification–that is, by others making the same observations” (Ferrante, 2008).

From the above definitions of the scientific method, we can conclude that: The procedure adopted by the scientists to find out the facts and scientific truths is called Scientific Method. The following are the compulsory steps involved in the scientific method. The elaboration of these steps as:

  1. Realizing the problem
  2. Defining the problem
  3. Analyzing the problem
  4. Collecting data / information
  5. Analyzing the information
  6. Framing hypothesis
  7. Verifying the hypothesis
  8. Finding the solution
  9. Applying the solutions in life situations.

Role of the Teacher

The scientific method can be used by the learner to understand the objects, activities and acquire the skills of decision making and problem-solving. The solutions or results derived

through this method can be applied to the living environment. In order to apply the solutions in life solutions the teacher should:

  • Arrange a necessary environment to understand the problem.
  • Guide the learner to collect the data or information.
  • Help in the classification and arrangement of data or information in the desired order.
  • Formulate the hypothesis and test the same.
  • Help to prepare a report on the tested hypothesis.
  • Give a life situation and enable the student to utilize the solution to find the result.

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