Scientific Methods

In broader terms, the purpose of science is to gather scientific knowledge. A common question about its purpose is how scientists gather particular scientific knowledge. We gather scientific knowledge by passing a topic of interest from the body of laws or theories to explain a phenomenon. Furthermore, scientific knowledge-gathering requires a well-defined process known as a scientific method. Therefore, the scientific method is a standardized group of techniques that aid scientists in gathering scientific knowledge. Hence, in this article, we will first discuss the generalized objectives of scientific methods. Secondly, we will talk about the importance of scientific methods in research. In the end, we will discuss how to implement the scientific method in research.   

1. What Are The Objectives Of Scientific Research Methodology? 

  As described earlier, the scientific method is a set of techniques typically used for gathering scientific knowledge. It provides ways to make valid observations, helps interpret data, and suggests ways to generalize results. In other words, it allows researchers to independently evaluate the pre-existing theories and create an open debate for modification and enhancement. In the current research, the scientific methods are the plans that suggest the tools and techniques for data analysis, interpretation, and finding a solution to a particular scientific method. For further understanding, the following are the five main objectives of scientific research methodology:

  • Provides better insights into a topic
  • Suggests better structuring guidelines
  • Works for improving the quality of the research
  • Finds the best possible solution to all scientific problems in a systematic way
  • It helps researchers in better decision making
  • Improves critical and logical thinking abilities

In order terms, all these objectives help researchers logically and systematically conduct research.

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2. Why is it important to use research methods?

Observation, prediction, and replication are necessities of research in the sciences. Observation helps researchers notice all necessary information about a topic, while prediction helps generalize the results. In particular, the scientific method deals with a small sample to unveil the facts. Still, for the well-being of society, the generalization of results is an important aspect of research.

Prediction leads to this generalization of facts. Still, replication helps find potential flaws and bugs in the method and techniques someone used to solve a similar scientific problem. The research method covers all these aspects of scientific research in the big picture. It suggests tools or techniques that strengthen the observation step of research. It suggests a variety of statistical or non-statistical tools/techniques for inference and predictions about a data set. Moreover, it is also really important for those who want to replicate someone’s experiment/ research for further research. Therefore, the scientific methods are extremely helpful in targeting three fundamental aspects of scientific research.                     

3. How is a scientific method implemented in research? 

Implementing the scientific method in research demands researchers to follow six simple research steps. The following steps will provide insight into the essentials for the implementation of the scientific method in research: 

Step # 1:  Ask questions

The first step in implementing a scientific method in research includes asking questions. The implementation starts when the researcher asks logical questions (Who, when, how, then, what, which, why, and here) about the problem under study. 

Step # 2: Do background research.

Secondly, the researcher should explore all the background information about the topic of interest. Gathering all necessary information does not mean starting from scratch. Rather, one should become prudent enough to use the internet or library sources to pick the background information relevant to the target research. 

Step # 3: Establish a relationship between the variables in the form of hypotheses 

Reading tons of scholarly articles suggests that researchers establish the best possible relationship between the variables. Moreover, the educated guess about the possible relationship between the variables forms hypotheses. The hypotheses help researchers accomplish a fundamental part of the research: the prediction. 

Step # 4:   Test the relationships/ hypotheses through experiments/ surveys/ interviews

Hypothesis testing is the fourth most important step in implementing a scientific method. We can do hypothesis testing in many ways, depending upon the nature of the research. Experiments, surveys, interviews, and case studies are among a few popular ways to test the tentative relationships between the variables of a study. So it is exactly the nature of the research that suggests researcher which method of testing hypotheses will be more appropriate to achieve the research objectives. 

Step # 5: Analyse and interpret the data to draw conclusions

Experiments, case studies, surveys, and interviews collect data in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods forms. In all cases, the scientific method demands analysis tools or techniques to wrap up the research. Qualitative data analysis requires a different set of techniques from quantitative data analysis. The data analysis provides results in the form of graphs, tables, and charts.  

Step # 6: Communicate the results

The graphs, charts, and tables are the easiest forms of data representation to understand the scientific knowledge gathered in research. This is true for all who have a basic understanding of different scientific terminologies. But for those new to research, the last part of the scientific method- results discussed in the discussion and conclusion sections of the research- is of paramount importance. 

In general, the scientific method aims to justify the research process’s four characteristics: replication, precision, feasibility, and parsimony. Replication ensures someone else from a similar scientific community can replicate the research. Precision demands that theoretical concepts related to research are defined so that others can also use those definitions to test the theory.

Feasibility requires a researcher to state the theory so that it can be rejected/ disproven in further studies. Those scientific theories that are not precisely defined/measured cannot be tested; hence, they are not considered scientific. Parsimony in scientific methods prevents scientists from using overly-complex theories. So, to justify this aspect of research, researchers should use the simplest and most logical explanation of a fact. Consequently, all the above implementation steps must be completed under the roof of these four scientific method aims.  


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