- 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.
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