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.


  • 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.
  • TIP: Scientists often express hypotheses as cause-effect relationships or mathematical expressions.
  • 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.
  • FACT: The Greek philosopher Aristotle is credited with being one of the fathers of the scientific method.

You Will Need

  • Observation
  • Hypothesis
  • Prediction
  • Experiment

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