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The scientific method generally has four steps
- Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
- Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
- Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
- Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.
For this discussion forum:
Describe an everyday decision-making situation in which you needed to be skeptical, and you used the scientific method.
Walk us through the steps. How did you test your hypothesis? In other words, how did you collect and analyze the data? Was your hypothesis supported? If not, how would you revise it for the next situation? Did you communicate your results and were they confirmed by others?
Were you biased in your experiment? Remember, when testing an hypothesis or a theory, the scientist may have a preference for one outcome or another, but it is important that this doesn’t bias the results or their interpretation. Sometimes “common sense” and “logic” tempt us into believing that no test is needed.
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