STS Exercise : The Scientific Method

Follow the instructions and sequence you will find below. Read and view with an open mind. Then write your comments on the Scientific Method in this post.

Step 1. Read the following Links:

The scientific method: How the scientific method is used to test a hypothesis.

Using the Scientific Method in Everyday Life by Chris Shelton . December 18, 2013

The real process of science

Step 2. Watch the following videos:

Scientific Method explained using Monty Python’s “We Found A Witch”

The scientific method is crap: Teman Cooke at TEDxLancaster

Step 3. Comment on this post.

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130 Responses to STS Exercise : The Scientific Method

  1. Alia Arellano says:

    As a science major and a graduate of a science high school, I can say that I have been introduced to the scientific method early enough for it to be instilled in me. Since then, I have thoroughly been using it in most of my subjects and I have been accustomed to its usual steps in coming up with solutions, answers and discoveries, whether it be scientific or just the usual day-to-day problems, as the scientific method is applicable even in our everyday lives. However, as embarrassing as it is, before watching the videos, I have never associated the term cyclic to the scientific method. But I couldn’t agree more when it is said that the scientific method should definitely not be seen as a rigid framework. It is always subject to changes and is an adaptable and flexible process. More than that, it shouldn’t be perceived as a one-way process, wherein it starts with an observation and ultimately ends with a conclusion. Arriving at a conclusion shouldn’t necessarily serve as an end to a problem, when in fact it can lead to even more questions and unexplained observations, which would require further experimentations. This endless cycle and pursuit for the truth, not knowing what you’ll discover in the process, is what science is truly all about.

  2. Mikaela Pereira says:

    The scientific method is a process that is not foreign to anyone of us. This was introduced to us way back in the early part of our education. It has been a system for us to find answers and expand our knowledge. Personally, as a biology major in this university, the scientific method helped me scrutinize and access information and details vividly and thoroughly in order to acquire an answer. Generally though, the scientific method is used daily by all of us even if it is not obvious. We use reasoning through this method to arrive at certain conclusions and decisions everyday.

    The linear scheme of the scientific method involves having a question, gathering information and resources (observation), formulating a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, analyzing and interpreting the data obtained, drawing conclusions, and publishing the results. Retest can also be done. This scheme is deemed useful for testing ideas with evidences. It is also pragmatic because it is simplified and rigid. The problem, though, lies in the fact that this linear scheme fails to acknowledge or entertain the ideas of temporary conclusions and answers. This is where the cyclic way of scientific method becomes more practical. The cyclic method involve repeating the process of forming a hypothesis, testing it, and analyzing the data. This method is more flexible, dynamic, and inviting to unpredictable circumstances.

  3. Mika Ramirez says:

    The scientific method has been around ever since the 17th century. But contrary to popular belief, it was coined by philosophers and historians in order to describe how science works. As a biology major, I can vouch that there is no single step-by-step method to understand the natural world. Science evolves everyday. It pushes its boundaries. What we know today may no longer be true tomorrow. What we observe today may no longer be there tomorrow. For this reason, the pursuit for knowledge and truth of even a single scientific idea may take years, decades, or even centuries to complete. And even then, scientists accept that these discoveries and these conclusions are not the end; they are, rather, only the beginning.

  4. Christian Philip Rabusa says:

    Based on my past knowledge about scientific method, it is a process that involves a long term experiment that answers a specific problem. But after I read the articles and watch the videos, I learned that scientific method is not necessarily an experiment that is done in a long period of time. The video “We found a witch” showed that scientific method can be used even in a short period and this made me realized that we are actually using scientific method in our everyday life but we are unconscious of it. The videos and articles gave me a lesson that the search for knowledge does not stop, it should continue even if certain things have been already discovered and answered

  5. Dawn Albert Z. Uy says:

    Like the others, scientific method has been introduced to me way back in grade school and now that I think about it, even though scientists do use scientific method, I would kind of agree that the scientific method is somewhat faulty. Aside from the fact that new information are being discovered every now and then, researches that would involve subjectivity may lead to different conclusions. However, I think the scientific method has and will always be helpful and of great use in testing hypothesis.

  6. Jared Tan says:

    It is true that the scientific method was taught to us at a very early age and was taught as a perfect way to study science. Unfortunately, what was lacking is telling us that not all problems can be properly solved with just the scientific method that we knew when we were in middle school. The cycle of scientific thinking can be described as a improved scientific method that was taught to us during middle school. I guess even know the fact that not all schools teach other ways to study science is a very big problem.

  7. Danielle Dominique Saylongo says:

    At times, we forget how important reminding ourselves of the brilliance of the scientific method and how under celebrated it is. The method may seem a little too simple and intuitive but it is the key to many, if not all, human innovation and technological development. It is where we practice the most basic but entirely essential skills of logic and organization that separates science from psuedo-science with the use of evidence backed thinking.

  8. Alyssa Soriano says:

    Way back in high school, we are very much aware about the scientific method that the teachers taught us, Scientific method help us to study science systematically. From general information we came to discover science to the very detailed information in order. The video also taught me that scientific method is not just about dealing with simple observations and such but it can also lead us to learn more what is beyond of the method.

  9. Gretel Delos Martirez says:

    When we talk about science we can easily tell that scientific method plays an important role in it and it is also taught to us in order to study the science easily but as I watched the video it made me realized that scientific method is not just for science purposes but it also deals in our daily lives even though we are unaware of it.

  10. Marianne Reyeg says:

    The idea of a conclusion with finality in a field that is increasingly growing is indeed wrong. I understand Teman Cooke’s point and am not surprised at the idea of open conclusions in that, as in history, where there is no single account of the whole past and every the history we know may change when newfound information comes along, our knowledge of science is impermanent. More and more discoveries are found everyday and a simple decade can change what many believe to be true. True critical thinking would not be satisfied with a one-and-done attitude in the use of the scientific method.

  11. Marianne Reyeg says:

    The scientific method, despite having long aided us students in the pursuit of knowledge and research, is limited. Perhaps my reasoning is due to my lack of exposure to the otherwise, but I believe that there is a lack of emphasis as to how non-linear science is. I understand Teeman Cooke’s point and I am in agreement that the finality of a conclusion in a discipline that is continuously growing is indeed wrong. Our knowledge of science, much like history, is impermanent. In history, one may claim his or her accounts to be the truth when supported by multiple credible sources, however, the presence of newfound accounts may just contradict it, much like how in science, the discover of something new can change what we thought to be true, perhaps even create a paradigm shift. What I do continue to take away from the process of scientific method is critical thinking which, if truly practiced, would have one keep his or her mind open.

  12. Marianne Reyeg says:

    The scientific method, despite having long aided us students in the pursuit of knowledge and research, is limited. Perhaps my reasoning is due to my lack of exposure to the otherwise, but I believe that there is a lack of emphasis as to how non-linear science is. I understand Teeman Cooke’s point and I am in agreement that the finality of a conclusion in a discipline that is continuously growing is indeed wrong. Our knowledge of science, much like history, is impermanent. In history, one may claim his or her accounts to be the truth when supported by multiple credible sources, however, the presence of newfound accounts may just contradict it, much like how in science, the discover of something new can change what we thought to be true, perhaps even create a paradigm shift. What I do continue to take away from the process of scientific method is critical thinking which, if truly practiced, would have one keep his or her mind open.

  13. Cassandra Deluria says:

    As someone who experienced having lab in high school, I’ve always pretty much known that research was a process of asking questions, running experiments, analyzing results, asking more questions, and running more experiments, but never got to experience it. In hindsight, it would have been highly enriching to be able to pursue a science project further than the one-run the linear research process, and apply the improvements we’d include in the recommendations for further study at the end of the output research paper. I have to admit that I take my appreciation for the scientific method for granted, having experienced STEM intensive classes, and coming from a household that was very open to inquiry (i.e. my parents gave real answers to my questions like “why is the sky blue?” or “why does coral turn white?”). I guess the challenge from here is to demystify science and the scientific method to the greater public. Science is really cool, but something gets lost in translation. Scientific inquiry is more common to our every day lives than many people think, and gaining more knowledge about it would be more beneficial than not.

  14. Nelle Alison Gacutan says:

    The scientific method is not a new topic I encountered. It was introduced to me since high school, and it was continuously discussed during the very first part of every semester. Even though it has been taught to me again and again; even though I used it a couple of times already, only now I realised that it is indeed a faulty method. Innovations are continuously rising up in our world, especially now that our generation is very into the field that involves a whole new level of technology. With the scientific method being a linear process, it becomes contradicting to the change that we are all currently experiencing. With the presence of technology and new scientists, the more problems will be known to the society, the more change there will be, especially regarding the facts that are constantly changing and being affected with new discoveries. Since we tend to be tight with what we know, sometimes we choose to be consistent and loyal with our old knowledge and not believe the new ones. The same thing happens in a scientific method- we believe the results because it undergone a process; because the results support the information that we know. Well I think that it should not be taken in a way that is very limited. This is what makes the scientific method sucks, because people tend to limit their knowledge to the facts that were laid down by the results of the experiment that went through the scientific method. But then again, what about the new discoveries? This is why we don’t just end at the results and conclusion. In fact, an end of an experiment is a beginning of a new one. Then from there, it goes on and on. Don’t forget that there will forever be another start after an end. Don’t forget that through the process, there will be another discovery waiting to be known.

  15. Jayjam Ganang Isidro says:

    The scientific method is generally a great algorithm for solving problems. However, based on experience and observations, not all questions can be answered using the scientific method. Nevertheless, I believe that when we realize the value of scientific method in terms of being more critical about everything that happens around us, then that makes a whole big difference even if we still have unanswered questions in life.

  16. Kathrina Veronica M. Inciong says:

    The scientific method has always appeared to me as a very structured manner of finding resolutions to scientific problems. In fact, there are other times when I unintentionally try to solve my trivial problems through this method (i.e. asking questions, formulating hypotheses, etc.) because I believed (or I was made to believe) that it is the right way of dealing with things. This has no doubt helped me with a lot of problems I have encountered, and it only goes to show how applicable the scientific method is to our daily lives.

    However, as a psychology major, I was exposed to a myriad of experiments and researches. I came to an understanding that the scientific method is not as fixed as we think, and that it is not the only way of solving things. As a matter of fact, the scientific method is a fluid method, if only we look at it beyond its surface.

    In the end, my take away here is that in whatever situation, we should always employ critical thinking and like what Sir Juned always says, “keep an open mind.” Because only then will we be able to see the bigger picture and come closer to the truth, if it exists.

  17. Audrey Agustin says:

    Honestly, ever since way back when I can remember first hearing if the scientific method, I recall that after the steps were enumerated, there was the last bit that mentioned to do it all again. I think this was during my first year in high school. After reading through the articles and watching the videos, I can’t help but think that there is no problem with the scientific method at all. I guess un my perspective, I always had perceived that it was a cycle. Sure make an observation, make a hypothesis, test whether it is right or wrong, then conclude. But then again, to me, concluding was another observation that I made after I had tested my hypothesis, and so on and so forth. So for me, there really isn’t anything wrong with the scientific method. I guess it just has to do with the way it is taught to people and how it is perceived. The acquisition of knowledge is endless after all.

  18. Karina Pe Benito says:

    The scientific method has, for some time, been a point of confusion for me in my elementary years. As discussed in the TEDx video, it seems as if, in using the method, one has to already “know” an end result from their hypothesis, putting large focus on reaching a conclusion or “fact.” Being labeled as facts, they bring the connotation that these cannot be wrong and that they are like gospel truths. However, as a psychology major, I have been exposed to many different ways of conducting research which put more focus on process than results such that the focus becomes about how a researcher thinks and processes their particular data. This makes it so that we are constantly reminded that any kind of conclusion we gain from research is still subjective in that it depends on the POV of the researchers, therefore what we gain are not facts but rather information that seem to hold true for many instances, but rigour and critical thinking are nonetheless still applied.

  19. Hannah Marie Perez says:

    Honestly speaking, I tend to avoid the scientific method in my high school years. I remember volunteering to do the physical work in lab experiments and follow whatever my groupmates would tell me to do, just to avoid the composition of scientific problems, hypotheses, and conclusions. I was afraid it was too technical and scientific for my mind to process (haha). But then, it was just after reading these articles and watching the videos made me realize that I can not avoid it forever, ’cause I am using the method all the time! Even in the simplest situations, we may not realize it but subconsciously we are undergoing the process over and over again. Also, it’s not a linear method but like a cycle wherein we can learn a lot of different things even if it’s out of track on our problem. Science is about discovering new things, after all.

  20. Bryan Santos says:

    Scientific method is always defined as a systematic way of solving problems. This was thought in our science classes but failed to expound the process within the method. It’s really great that it is pointed out that it’s not a linear method rather a circular one, called scientific cycle. I liked it that it is a cycle since every after conclusions, it will branch out to more many questions. The quest of finding an answer to a specific problem can be improved. Just like in research, we continue to find answers to the problems we are trying to solve and further pursue the knowledge we can get from it. That’s the beauty of this cycle. People will continue to improve and be critical about the information they have found.

  21. Ruth Castro says:

    Indeed, learning doesn’t end when we acquire knowledge about something. Through and through, we must continue to ask questions and search for the truth. This particular POV on the scientific method is really thought-provoking. For years, I thought that scientific process was the only way to go. After watching this video, I realized how restricted my thinking was and there is no one way to do things. More often than not, we fail to realize that some things are faulty/imperfect just because it has been established for some time. Still, I don’t want to trash the idea of the scientific method just yet. In my opinion, the scientific method and the cyclic method are both valid and can be used depending on the situation

  22. Dalzel Erap says:

    The scientific method is something that is not unfamiliar to any of us. It is something seen as a staple in one’s science subject-and for a good reason. Scientific discoveries are made because of this method. However, while it may be “tried and tested”, it would not hurt to question it at times. Whatever you may want to, why not? And you can see how critical thinking and logic and empiricism play a large part in the method. It is also nice to see that it is also applicable to real life not just in a laboratory. However, not everything that uses logic is “right” as shown in Monty Python and the Holy Grail video. This only supports the idea of questioning even tried and tested things.

  23. Lheanne Begino says:

    When I was in high school, I never get to like the scientific method much. Although we have experiments, we just follow the instructions. There are limited areas where we get to do the scientific method. After reading and watching the articles and videos, I realized that we were boxed in the idea that scientific method is so “scientific” in a way that there should be “science” in it and not thinking that we can do it on the day-to-day basis. I realized the importance of observation since everything revolves around what is being observed and what is known.

    Since I am in the field of engineering, I realized that in everything that required us to do experiments and papers, it is important to do the recommendation part of the paper since it explains that there is something more to do in that experiment and if there are some things that need to be addressed in doing the experiment.

  24. Stephanie Levita says:

    There was never a question why we keep using the scientific method. It’s because most of the time it works, provided that we are doing the process correctly. Why fix it if it’s working, right? No. Scientists continue to innovate, that is the whole premise of science. We question. Even banal queries because we’d never know what we will discover.

    We’ll never know if we never ask. I believe that sometimes the answer may not be satisfying but it’s better to know than to be stuck wondering, unsure without any concrete answers. The scientific method is an old and an extremely useful method. I do agree that it is flawed but as a introductory approach to teaching science, it is a good method. Start at the basic and then we can introduce more stuff.

    In math, we were always taught of the harder method before the simpler ones. We were taught first to appreciate the process and then they completely throws us off when they teach new things that contradict the previous ones.

    I think what we really need is the appreciation of science and the scientific inquiry. If we can find a way of enticing kids to enter the scientific world then we are looking to more innovations and not just on the scientifc method.

  25. Franco Manuel Santiago says:

    Before, I would only encounter the scientific method in my science classes in elementary and high school. However, in our discussions on the scientific method, we usually just end with the “conclusion”. It was only after reading the articles above that I realized that the scientific method must be iterative; meaning, how we generate knowledge and test hypotheses works in a cycle rather than in a linear way. I especially appreciate this now because as a political science major, we do a lot of research. In doing research in the social sciences, we don’t always come up with perfect conclusions, since society and human behavior is too complex for us to generate one complete answer to our questions about the world. For example, in political science, political phenomena can be affected by so many factors and can be analyzed using a variety of perspectives. In the end, when attempting to answer one question, we don’t always get a final answer; in fact, more often than not, it leads us to more questions. This is why in the social sciences, we never stop asking questions. Indeed, the scientific method isn’t restricted to the “hard” sciences.

  26. Adrian Karl Maquilan says:

    The scientific method is actually easy to digest. Maybe that is the reason why it was thought to us since elementary. I cannot blame the academicians for feeding us this thing called scientific method because after all, all the basic discovery start somewhere and this is one of them. Even the TED speaker’s cycle of scientific thinking derived from the scientific method. The irony is that the scientific method is now the “specimen” or object of interest for a scientific method, it was *discovered* that the scientific method is not that effective, therefore he derived into a conclusion.

  27. I distinctly remember what professor in physics imparted to us years ago when I was still a freshman : “The goal of man is to find happiness.”

    With this, how can man be truly happy in life? That is, to search for the truth in pursuit of knowledge. Discovering the truth leads us to happiness, and the scientific method offers us an organized way of discovering the truths about the world we live in. It brings us to enlightenment. We understand a bit more about the world through this process of inquiry, observation, testing and analysis.

    Everyone actually could benefit from learning how to use the scientific method to solve non-scientific problems. Careful analysis of the complexities of human society and social relationships require critical thinking for possible solutions, and understanding the scientific process is necessary for a deeper understanding of and a greater appreciation of the broader context.

  28. Carla Patricia Uy says:

    The scientific method is a basic process to get answers to your questions. However, as shown in the Monty Python video, the scientific method is only an instrument. It’s important to account for the error of creating a faulty experiment with relation to the facts. The Cycle of Scientific Thinking as introduced by Teman Cooke feels like a more improved version of the scientific method. While I don’t agree with his claims that the scientific method is linear, intimidating and unintuitive, it is true that the process feels very rigid to new ideas and questions introduced in the middle of the process. His explanation of the discovery of Pluto justifies the cycle of scientific thinking for me.

  29. Remigio De Ungria says:

    First things first: I’m still hung up on whether the “witch” in the Monty Python video REALLY is a witch. She might just happen to weigh as much as a duck. (Either that’s one light lady, or a dang heavy duck!) Pure coincidence. Maybe.

    The scientific method seems to be the logical and intuitive process to follow in order to figure something out. The process itself was simply formalized and given the name. It’s about as science-y as it is instinctive.

    This formalized process though, is a very effective way to get people to learn how to think. While the process may not be strictly followed every single time, it becomes sort of an attitude or discipline that guides the know-er to think and approach certain applicable situations.

    However, the scientific method is not perfect. Far from it. Let’s go back to the Monty Python example.

    Clearly, Sir Bedivere employed the scientific method in determining whether the lady was, indeed, a witch. He asked the question of whether the lady was a witch, he deduced the fact that if she weighs as much as the duck, she must be a witch, and true enough, they did observe that she weighed the same as a duck, and therefore concluded that the lady was a witch.

    The problem lies in two things: the problematic assumption and their readiness to accept the conclusion.

    The deductions that Sir Bedivere may have sounded right, but it did not account for many other variables, and is definitely flawed, since floating on water is not reliant on weight alone. This sole mistake in the assumption makes the conclusion highly questionable (in fact, a proven false assumption can make highly accepted theories questionable! See: relativity vs. classical mechanics).

    The crowd, obviously, was accusing the lady of being a witch from the very start. Once they have just a single piece of evidence, they’ve concluded that she is, in fact, a witch, without using other methods for confirmation. (This reminds me a LOT of this “vaccines cause autism” GIF. Link: http://i.imgur.com/ou22d6T.gif) Their eagerness to burn the “witch” at the stake did not allow for further testing to prove them right!

    This is where Mr. Teman Cooke’s talk come in to play. First begin with the conclusion. He mentions that it only takes one counterexample to prove a statement false (or questionable). Since there was only one concluded statement in the video, there were no counterexamples to prove it questionable! It just so happens that the experiment pointed to the lady being a witch, whereas others may have possibly led them to conclude otherwise. This is one of the problems of the linear model that is the scientific method: once a reasonable, seemingly sound conclusion is reached, it just stops.

    To contrast this linear method, Cooke presented the cycle of scientific thinking. What’s the difference? It’s not presented linearly. It’s continuous, it’s ongoing, it revolves and lasts forever. Once a cycle has been accomplished once, it’s not over yet! This means that once a conclusion has been reached, keep finding more and more conclusions to either support or reject prior conclusions. It just does not stop.

    Much like the cycle (and unlike the linear model), science should keep going without stopping. It should be continuous, it should be a discipline, it should be a way of thinking.

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