The Scientific Method
There are six parts to the scientific method.
Question – The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you see or observe. How, What, When, Where, Who, Which or Why? In order for the scientific method to answer the question it must be about something that you can measure, preferably with a number.
- Once you have a question, you need to do some background research. Use the library and Internet to research the best way to help you answer your question and design your experiment. This way you can avoid making mistakes using the advice from those who have tried to test the same or similar question before you.
Hypothesis – Construct a hypothesis, an educated guess, about how things work:
“If_________(I do this)__________, then _____(this)________will happen.”
Materials – This is a list of all the materials you will need to test your experimental hypothesis.
Procedure – These are the exact instructions you followed to test your hypothesis. The procedure is how other scientists will do your experiment in order to get the same results as you did.
Results – This is what happened when you followed your procedure. You collect your measurements and analyze them to see if your hypothesis was true or false.
- Note: Most scientists find that their hypothesis was false, and in such cases they will construct another hypothesis and start the entire process of the scientific method over again. Even if they find a hypothesis that was true, they may want to test it again in a new way.
Conclusion – To complete your experiment/science fair project you will communicate your results to others in a final report and display board.
- Note: Scientists do almost the exact same thing when they publish their final report in a scientific journal or by presenting their results at a scientific meeting.
You will see that the first letter of each word of the scientific method is bolded and italicized. The reason for this is so that we can easily remember exactly what step comes next by using a mnemonic phrase:
Quit hitting my pretty, red corvette.