07-23-11, 03:08 PM #1
The scientific method
What exactly is the scientific method? Do all people in professions in which they are considered scientists follow it?
07-23-11, 04:35 PM #2
07-23-11, 04:58 PM #3
Peter Medawar, from Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought: Ask a scientist what he conceives the scientific method to be, and he will adopt an expression that is at once solemn and shifty-eyed: solemn, because he feels he ought to declare an opinion; shifty-eyed, because he is wondering how to conceal the fact that he has no opinion to declare. [...] If the purpose of scientific methodology is to prescribe or expound a system of inquiry or even a code of practice for scientific behavior, then scientists seem to be able to get on very well without it. Most scientists receive no tuition in scientific method, but those who have been instructed perform no better as scientists than those who have not. Of what other branch of learning can it be said that it gives its proficients no advantage; that it need not be taught or, if taught, need not be learned?
07-23-11, 07:35 PM #4
2. formulation of an hypothesis about said observation.
3. an attempt to prove that hypothesis.
Do all people in professions in which they are considered scientists follow it?
why do you ask? do you have an alternative?
07-25-11, 08:39 AM #5
Do all who are assumed to be scientists follow it?
Well, does everybody follow the traffic rules?
Of course not.
However, I might add a number to Leopold's list:
4. Peer review.
Peer review has two meanings:
A specific one for publication; to be admitted into a recognized journal, a panel of scientists should approve the the article. This does not mean that it is right, just that the panel deems that sound scientific methods were used.
A general one: Whenever an interesting result is reported, other scientists will scrutinize, criticize, and maybe try to repeat the experiment.
Thus, if you don't use proper scientific methods, you are very likely to be found out. And if you are caugt tweaking results, it is not good for your career.
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