Steps Taken in Scientific Method
It has been understood till now that scientific methods are those methods which are used for solving a problem scientifically. These methods play an important role in executing various kinds of research functions. The scientific methods are based upon the processes of finding out results by attacking directly on the problem in definite steps. It is because of this reason that there cannot be any one particular method which is used by the scientists or science teachers in performing their functions.
The processes or steps which are taken in scientific methods are specific in nature, mentions of which are as follows:
1. The first step consist of arousing a sense of need in the mind of learner to make use of scientific method to solve out the existing problems with which he is being confronted. Here it is assumed that teacher is performing the function of making student aware that there is some problem around him which can only be solve out through scientific methods.
It is only through such realisation that student will absorb himself fully for adoption of scientific method in his study. No teacher can encourage any student to make use of any scientific method unless and until student will understand the need to solve out the problem in shortest period of time.
It is the duty of teacher to provide the student with such situation in which he can think about the urgent need to solve out the problem quickly. He should be encouraged to ask any kind of question that are arising in his mind relating to solving the problem.
This is generally termed as setting up of the problem, which is a cooperative approach of teacher and the student. Teacher should ask some specific kinds of questions from the students by which he can analyse or judge out the level of knowledge and area of interest of the students. Such questions should be asked answer of which require reflective thinking and sound reasoning on the part of students. While doing this, teacher should keep in the mind available time and material.
While designing the problem, teacher should take into consideration the level of students and their needs. This function should be performed by in such a manner by the teacher that it can foster group work in the classroom by which way for greater reflective thinking can be constructed for the students.
2. Realised problem should be studied and analysed thoroughly from all possible angles if one has to make progress in the task of investigation and in solving out the problem. In this step, due consideration should be provided to setting up of certain questions, like what should be objective of setting out for solution of the problem and by which method can it be solved.
It is in very clear and precise terms that problem should be stated in light of such questions. Purpose of the study or investigation and it's limitations also should be stated as they can play important role in devising the means and ways of solving the problem in effective way.
3. After understanding the problem properly, students should be provided with the opportunities to define their problems in concise and definite terms. This should be done in clear and simple language. This step is basically concerned with stating the problem in precise terms. Students should be provided with proper help and assistance from the teacher to perform this function. Problem can be best understood with the help of proper statement of problem.
Teacher can ask the students in this step to mention the statement of problem in light of specific criteria and then to read it in the class by which other students can give their views and ideas on it. Student should be permitted to analyse the problem only if problem has been accepted by majority of students.
Clue to the further study of the problem will be furnished through keywords and the phrases in the problem stated by the student or group of students. In finding out the required information, key words also help to varying degrees. Teacher should make sure that all the students understand meaning of various key words and phrases they have used while defining the problem in written form. It is only through such knowledge that other students can understand the whole problem properly.
4. After understanding properly the things which are required to be done to solve the current problem, attempts should be made to collect all the relevant information and data with the help of which problem can be solve out in scientific way. Through such kind of data and information, students can understand the nature and kind of problem to considerable extent. Not only this, such kind of information also provide a solid base for thinking out various possible solutions of the problem.
Students should be informed about the sources from where they can collect required data by the teacher. Generally, teacher suggests references on the problem and advises the students to make use of devices such as models, pictures and text books. Data or information collected through these sources should be done from various or different angles. To locate gathered information and to devise means to obtain it, students should be given proper practice and training.
5. After gathering different kinds of data or information from various means, students are required to interpret them properly. This function is not easy as a tiny mistake can lead to improper interpretation. For this reason, it is considered that students require a lot of practice to perform this function.
This step involves reflective thinking a complex of skills and abilities, because of which it is considered as difficult one. It is on the basis of similarity and difference that students organise the various kinds of obtained data. To answer questions and to test ideas, they plan different kinds of experiments and keen themselves indulge in various research works. Those data which are found to be superfluous and invalid are being discarded by them while they make use of valid kind of data or information.
6. After analysing the obtained or gathered information, hypotheses are being formulated by the students. It is important to mention here that all the possible tentative solutions of the problem are known as Hypothesis. Such hypothesis are drawn on the basis of previous knowledge and collected information or data which are being related with the problem.
A list is being made of the hypothesis, out of which students select only appropriate kind of hypothesis, while improper and invalid kind of hypothesis are being rejected by them. Invalid kinds of hypothesis are those which do not appear to be appealing feasible and suitable in the form of some possible solution of the problem. Students only take suitable and selected hypothesis and only such kinds of hypothesis are being taken ahead in the next step for further consideration and analysation.
7. In this step, all the suitable and selected hypothesis are again evaluated one by one. For such kind of evaluation, all possible attempts are made to weigh the reliability, validity and objectivity of these hypothesis by taking the help of all possible devices and techniques.
All the hypothesis are being analysed from various dimensions and after this analysation, one of the highly suitable kind of hypothesis is being selected as final solution of the problem. Generally such kind of final solution is found to be in total agreement with the needs and requirements of the problem.
This is in tune with the pre-established facts and principles. It is possible to prove the validity of this conclusion or solution on basis of new facts and tests. Through further investigation and verification, it is possible to eradicate any kind-of doubts present in the drawn conclusion.
8. In this step, out of accepted hypothesis, generalisation is being made out, which is done by arranging a set of experiments by which same conclusions is shown which was earlier drawn. Through this process, cause why a particular thing or event happens gets further verified or tested, as truth value in the happening of some other similar events in similar circumstances get observed through this generalisation process.
If it is found to be true, only then the accepted hypothesis is accepted finally and is being accepted as a generalised rule. Thus it is important to remember that a conclusion or solution derived by making use of scientific methods cannot be regarded as accepted or generalised conclusions unless they possess sufficient ground to be recognised so. For becoming a generalised rule, principle should possess of qualities of universality, validity and generality.
9. Students should be encouraged by the teacher to make use of generalized rule or fact in their daily life. Through it, the distance or gap found in between the classroom situation and real life situation will get bridge up. Not only this, principle itself will be verified by applying the generalised principle in reality. With this, it will become possible for the students to explain the different phenomena and to predict the future conditions on basis of principle in the present.
Thus, it can be said that scientific methods involve definite and set procedures by which various problems can be tackled out in scientific manner. Such methods involve finding out solution of problem first through inductive approach and then testing the adequacy of generalisation through deductive approach.
It is wrong to believe that the abilities invested in solving the problem will develop automatically through gaining information regarding some scientific facts, principles and concepts. It is a fact that the content learn in the solution of problem is much more durable than the content mastered as such for its own sake, which implies that in scientific method content without training are not considered important in any way.