Steps to the Scientific Method

How has the scientific method come to be the process that we know it as today? Has it always been the same?

By Melody Xu

Art by Alex Hanson

Everyone has heard of the scientific method. It’s mentioned in practically every high school science textbook, presented to students as some sort of divine method to conduct experiments. In a way, the idea of the scientific method has been black-boxed for us; we know that it yields results, but do we know how it works? How has the scientific method come to be the process that we know it as today? Has it always been the same? In order to gain a better understanding of the scientific method, the history of it must also be examined.

There have been many different variations, where some steps may be combined or implied rather than explicitly stated, but the underlying concept, I would argue, remains pretty consistent. The steps are to (1) ask a question, (2) do background research, (3) construct a hypothesis, (4) conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis, (5) analyze the data, (6) draw a conclusion, and finally, (7) determine whether your hypothesis was correct or not. There are a plethora of different cultures and people that have had an influence on our modern scientific method, but I will be describing just a few of the earliest contributors: Aristotle, Ibn al-Haytham, Francis Bacon, and just briefly, Isaac Newton. Continue reading “Steps to the Scientific Method”

To Be Science or Not To Be Science

What exactly is science?

by Melody Xu 

Cartoons by Alex Hanson

What exactly is science? What, if anything, makes it different from the humanities? There is no definitive answer to these questions. For the sake of discussion, however, let’s draw the line between science, which I’ll define as having the goal of discovering the true nature of the world, and other academic fields. I’ll recognize three different distinctions between science and other academic fields: the role of empiricism, the role of mathematics, and, finally, the role of peer review. Continue reading “To Be Science or Not To Be Science”