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Research Report #11
Steps of the Scientific Method –
In my library there are more than 3,000 books I reviewed for their association with science and education. Over the past 18 years, I had my secretary-assistants make a card file on those authors who gave a formula for the scientific method regardless of what the author called it. Authors often used a different name for the method. See my Research Report #4 “Other Names for the Scientific Method” for a wide variety of names used for activities that are basically the scientific method.
The lessons to be learned here are:
The model formulas presented here are samples from various fields of endeavor.
Field: History of the Scientific Method
Source: The Scientist (1971) by Henry Margenau
Source: Science and Ideas (1964), essay by J. H. Randall, Jr.
Source: The Grammar of Science (1957) by Karl Pearson
Books Exclusively on Scientific Method
Source: The Scientific Approach – Basic Principles of the Scientific Method (1967) by Carlo Lastrucci
8 stages of scientific approach (abbreviated):
|1.||formulation of problem|
|2.||study of pertinent related literature for data or methods of procedure|
|3.||construction of a research design by which the problem is to be attacked|
|4.||determination of the “universe” to be encompassed|
|5.||gathering of data and processing it into workable form|
|6.||interpretation of data|
|7.||verification of interpretation|
|8.||presentation of findings in a report|
Source: Introduction to Logic (1982) by Irving Copi
The general pattern of scientific research
|1. The problem
2. Preliminary hypotheses
3. Collecting additional facts
4. Formulating the hypothesis
5. Deducing further consequences
6. Testing the consequences
Source: The Foundations of Science (1960) by Sheldon J. Lachman
. . . this book will consider the scientific method as analyzable into the following six general steps:
|1. Formulation of specific hypotheses or specific questions for investigation.
2. Design of the investigation.
3. Accumulation of the data.
4. Classification of the data.
5. Development of generalizations.
6. Verification of the results.
Source: Restructuring Science Education (1990) by Richard A.
It is the last of these that science teachers would immediately recognize as the standard scientific method. It involves:
|1. Selecting a hypothesis
2. Conducting observations
3. Collecting data
4. Testing the hypothesis
5. Rejecting or accepting the hypothesis
Source: Industrial Creativity (1964) by J. Rossman
Survey results from 710 inventors show the following as the procedure of invention:
| 1. Observation of a need or difficulty
2. Analysis of the need
3. A survey of all available information
4. A formulation of all objective solutions
5. A critical analysis of these solutions for their advantages and disadvantages
6. The birth of the new idea – the invention
7. Experimentation to test out the most promising solution, and the selection and perfection of the final embodiment by some or all of the previous steps
Source: World Book Encyclopedia vol. 5 (1959)
The Scientific Method, Five Steps:
|1. stating the problem
2. forming the hypothesis
3. observing and experimenting
4. interpreting data
5. drawing conclusions
Source: Reason and Nature (1959) by Morris R. Cohen
According to the currently fashionable view, it is of the very essence of scientific method to distrust all reason to rely on the facts only. The motto, “Don’t think; find out,” often embodies this attitude. Scientific method is supposed to begin by banishing all preconceptions or anticipations of nature. In the first positive stage it simply collects facts; in the second, it classifies them; then it lets the facts themselves suggest a working hypothesis to explain them. It is only in the last stage, in the testing or verifying of hypotheses (so as to transform them into established laws) that the rational deduction of consequences plays any part. Such deduction, it is maintained, brings us no new information. It only makes explicit what experience has already put into our premises.Classification: Four Steps of the Scientific Method
Source: The Analytical Hierarchy Process (1985) by B.L.
Steps in Using the AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process):
|1. Define the Problem.
2. Select the Decision Group.
3. Identify Issues and Objectives.
4. Develop the Structure of the Hierarchy.
5. Judge the Importance of the Decision Factors.
6. Evaluate Alternative.
7. Report on Results.
8. Check Reasonableness.
9. Finalize Choices.
Source: Educational Research (1971) by Walter Borg and Meredith
The basic steps of the scientific method are as follows:
|1. Recognition of the problem
2. Definition of the problem in clear, specific terms
3. Development of hypotheses
4. Development of techniques and measuring instruments that will provide objective data pertinent to the hypothesis
5. Collection of data
6. Analysis of data
7. Drawing conclusions relative to the hypotheses based upon the data.
Source: The Police Manager (1978) by Ronald G. Lynch
Once the means-ends analysis is completed, the following seven-step decision-making process can begin. The seven steps are:
|1. Set the objective.
2. Identify obstacles in the way of the objective
3. Collect and analyze data.
4. Develop alternative solutions.
5. Select alternatives to be implemented.
6. Develop and implement a plan.
7. Evaluate the results of implementation.
Source: Clear Thinking (1990) by Hy Ruchlis with Sandra Oddo
General principles for solving problems:
|1. Define the problem
2. Gather facts to solve the problem
3. Use human memory, logical reasoning, and reliable information to gather or produce more facts.
4. Reach a conclusion.
Source: Brain Power: Learn to Improve Your Thinking Skills
(1980) by Karl Albrecht
Proposes a 2-phase process for problem solving, the expansion phase, followed by the closure phase. The six steps to this process are:
| 1. Problem finding
2. Problem stating
3. Option finding
5. Taking action
6. Evaluating results
Source: Thinking with Equations (1990) by Charles Wales
Five thinking operations of decision making:
|Define the Situation
State the Goal
Prepare the GENI Plan
The GENI process:
Goal, Equation, Need, Information
Note: For many other model formulas on decision making, see Brief “Models, Systems Guides for Decision Making in the Literature” on my website www.decisionmaking.org.
Source: The Complete Problem Solver (1989) by John R. Hayes
Defines actions involved in problem solving:
|1. Finding the problem
2. Representing the problem
3. Planning the solution
4. Carrying out the plan.
5. Evaluating the solution
6. Consolidating gains
Source: Thinking Skills (1986) by Barbara Presseisen
Refers to Sternberg’s “steps” for solving problems:
|1. Problem identification
2. Process selection
3. Strategy selection
4. Representation selection
5. Allocation of resources
6. Solution monitoring
7. Sensitivity to feedback
8. Translation of feedback into action plan
9. Implementation of an action plan
Source: Creative Education Foundation, 289 Bay Road, Hadley, MA 01035,
They have taught this model formula for creative problem solving (without reference to scientific method) to millions of seminar attendees and others.
Current Osborn-Parness Process:
Source: Psychology for Life Today (1966) by Charles R. Foster
Quotes John Dewey’s Stages in Process of Thinking – most thinking can be broken down into these steps.
|1. A felt difficulty
2. Location and definition of the problem
3. Suggestion of possible solutions
4. Reasoning of possibilities of the suggestion or suggestions
5. Further observations and experiments leading to acceptance of rejection of the proposed solution.
Source: Psychology’s Scientific Endeavor (1975) by Christopher
The classical statement of scientific method:
2. Defining the problem
3. Proposing a hypothesis
5. Theory formulation
Source: Introduction to Operations Research (1957) by C. Churchman
Major phases of an operations research project:
|1. Formulating the problem
2. Constructing a mathematical model to represent the system under study
3. Deriving a solution from the model
4. Testing the model and the solution derived from it
5. Establishing controls over the solution
6. Putting the solution to work: implementation