1: The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method

  I am going to assume that you’ve read about the scientific method at least once (probably many times, if you’ve taken a lot of science classes). So, I’ll spare you the long lecture – but if you’ve never read a good description of the scientific method or the diagram below is totally unfamiliar to you, please read up on it first, then come back here…  

  However, knowing what the scientific method is and being able to use it are two different things. I want to focus especially on HOW to design a sound scientific procedure for testing a hypothesis. Generally the test needs to have at least 3 characteristics:

  1. Measurability: You need to be able to specify how you will MEASURE the outcome of the treatment.
  2. Comparability: You need to be able to COMPARE the effects of some treatment to the effects of not-treatment (called the control).
  3. Replicability: You need to be able to REPLICATE your experiment so that random events don’t hijack your results.