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Scientists use the scientific method to help them make sure their work is done the right way. But, how does the method actually work? This lesson will explain the scientific method’s steps and processes.

What is the Scientific Method?

The goal of any scientist is to solve problems and answer questions that affect us. In order to do this, the steps in the scientific method must be followed.

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The scientific method is a set of steps that help scientists make sure their work is done the right way.

The Steps and Processes in the Scientific Method

The words ‘steps’ and ‘processes’ are both used to describe the parts of the scientific method that all scientists should follow. Let’s talk about each of the steps now.1.

Ask a QuestionThe first step that scientists usually take is to ask that question or identify the problem.2. ResearchThe next process is to learn everything about the question that a scientist can. This is called research. Have other scientists have already tried to solve the problem?3. PredictionAfter learning all about the question, scientists make a prediction or a guess about what the answer to the question might be.

4. ExperimentNext, the scientist will create an experiment to see if their prediction was correct. Creating an experiment can mean many things. It may happen in a laboratory, or by going outside and measuring something. These measurements will be the evidence they will use to answer the question. Evidence is any measurement that helps answer a question.

A scientist collects data.

Collecting data

5. ResultsOnce enough data has been collected, a scientist will use it to answer the problem.6.

Spread the Word or Start AgainThe last step in the scientific method is telling other people about your experiement. Sometimes, though, the scientist will discover that the answer would be different if they changed the experiment, so they will restart the scientific method and try to answer the question in a better way.

Most scientists tell other people about their work by writing papers about it.
Typing at a computer

An Example You Can Try at Home!

Let’s look at a quick example of the scientific method.Identify a Question: Which type of food do cats like best?

How would you use the scientific method to find out which food cats like best?
Cat eating

Research: Look on the internet to find out which foods are available for cats to eat.

Predict: Make a guess as to which food you think your cat will like.Experiment: Decide how you will figure out which food cats like best. Maybe you feed the cat each food at the same time. Maybe you give it one food a day. It’s up to you, as long as it will help you answer the question. Do your experiment, collect data, and write down everything that happens.

You never know what will help you answer the question!Results: Look at your data and try to figure out which food the cat liked best. Maybe it’s the food it ate the most. Maybe it never ate some of the food.Tell People: Once you have an answer, tell people! Maybe tell your friends what you found out so their cats will be as happy as yours.

Lesson Summary

The scientific method is a set of steps that help scientists make sure their work is done the right way. There are several steps (also called processes) in the scientific method that must be done.1.

Ask a Question2. Research (learn more)3. Make a Prediction (a guess)4.

Experiment5. Results6. Spread the Word or Start Again

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