Scientific Method Definition<br />The steps scientists use to gather information and answer questions.<br />
Step 1<br />Observation leads to a question.<br />The first step toward scientific discovery often takes place when a scientist observes something that leads to a question.<br />
Step 2<br />Scientist forms a hypothesis.<br />A hypothesis is a testable explanation or answer to a question based upon a scientist’s observation. It is often referred to as an “educated guess”. <br />
Step 3<br />Scientist tests the hypothesis through an experiment.<br />Quantitative (numerical) and/or qualitative (written descriptions) data is gathered.<br />
Step 4<br />Using the gathered data, the scientist analyzes the results and draws a conclusion.<br />The scientist determines if the hypothesis is true or false.<br />
Step 5<br />The scientist reports the results of the study so that other scientists can repeat the experiment and verify the results.<br />
So how does a hypothesis become a theory?<br />A hypothesis that is supported by many separate observations and investigations, usually over a long period of time, becomes a theory.<br />A theory is an explanation of natural phenomenon that is supported by a large body of scientific evidence obtained from many different investigations and observations. A theory results from continual verification and refinement of a hypothesis.<br />
In addition to theories, scientists also recognize certain natural laws that are generally known to be true.<br />A scientific law is an expression of a mathematical or descriptive relationship observed in nature such as Newton’s Law of Gravity.<br />
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