The Scientific Method
All scientists use the steps of the scientific method to arrive at answers to their questions. It is one of the fundamentals of scientific research.
- Identify a problem you would like to investigate.
- Collect background information (for example, do a literature search on the topic).
- Form a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess about what should happen that needs to be verified by doing an experiment.
- Design an experiment to test the hypothesis. It is important for your experiment to be a “fair test”. You conduct a “fair test” by changing only one factor at a time while keeping all other factors the same.
- Perform the experiment. Throughout the process of doing your science project, you should keep a journal where you write down all of your important ideas and the results of your experiments. This journal is called your laboratory notebook.
- Repeat the experiment, if possible, to ensure that your results weren’t arrived at accidentally.
- Analyze the date collected and state the results.
- Draw conclusions from the data. Did you prove your hypothesis? If not, why not? Do you need to rethink your hypothesis? If you do, go back to step 3 and follow the scientific method again.
- Discuss the applications of your conclusions.
- Communicate your results by preparing your exhibit. Your exhibit should summarize your investigation.