How to Conduct an Experiment Using the Scientific Method

The scientific method was devised to allow scientists to conduct investigations objectively. Here's the method in a nutshell.

You will need

  • Observation
  • Hypothesis
  • Prediction
  • Experiment

Step 1 Make an observation Observe some occurrence or group of occurrences, and describe it.

Step 2 Make a hypothesis Formulate a hypothesis — an educated guess — to explain the observation.

Step 3 Use the hypothesis Use the hypothesis to predict new behavior, or the quantitative results of new observations.

Step 4 Perform an experiment Perform an experiment to test the predictions of the hypothesis.

Step 5 Accept or reject the hypothesis Elevate the hypothesis to a theory if the experiment supports the hypothesis. If the experiment does not confirm it, the hypothesis must be discarded or modified.

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