The scientific method comprises asking and finding answers to a problem by way of logical thinking, carefully weighing all the possibilities and arriving at the best possible solution. This is made possible by making observations and conducting experiments. This method can be applied to all branches of science from natural sciences to social sciences like sociology, psychology, political science, theology, etc.
Let's take a simple example of removing stains from your clothes using the scientific method.
Phenomenon observed: You notice turmeric stains on your clothing.
Question: How to remove the stain?
Though this question seems very simple and may not require one to observe keenly or use their reasoning skills, but it does serve a practical purpose. Carrying out experiments with household products offers a clear understanding about the effectiveness of such products.
Research and gather the materials that you can use to remove the stain, which will support your question in the previous step, and lead to a fair interpretation of results.
Here the materials could be - lemon juice, vinegar, water (hot and cold), dishwashing liquid, and detergent.
The hypothesis must be worded as follows: "If __ this is done __ , then __ this __ will take place".
Based on the research conduced above, the hypothesis that we can deduce would be -
"If I apply the above materials, then the turmeric stain will disappear".
As stated earlier, a hypothesis is a theory that is not yet verified, and to prove it experiments must be conducted. The experiment proves the authenticity of the hypothesis as per the information and evidences gathered while doing research on the subject. Care must be taken that the experiment is a fair test, and it must be repeated for the same and different set of values to ensure that the initial results were not a chance event. The experiment will either confirm or rule out your theory. However, if it fails to support the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified.
An experiment can have a control group and an experimental group.
The control group in our experiment:
- The same type of fabric
- Same stain (turmeric)
- Same degree of stain
The experimental group:
The type of stain remover. We will group the substances as follows:-
- Apply some dishwashing liquid on the stain and leave it for 2-3 minutes. Then wash it off with water.
- If the stain remains, apply some white vinegar and leave it for sometime. Then wash your cloth with regular detergent.
- Apply lemon juice on the stain and let it dry in the sun for sometime. Then wash the cloth with regular detergent and water.
- Take another cloth with the same degree of stain and immerse it in hot water.
The conclusion is the summary of the results drawn from the experiment and how they relate to the hypothesis. It should also consist the methodology used and any problems or queries that arose during the testing of the hypothesis.
If the above materials help in removing the turmeric stain out of your clothing, then the hypothesis is true, else you need to formulate a new approach.
Problem that arose during the testing of the hypothesis:- Immersing the cloth in hot water intensifies the stain and sets it.
Communicate your findings and the results to others:
The finding is - the effective method for turmeric stain removal is by using lemon juice, vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and detergent.