Steps of the Scientific Method
1. State the problem: What is the problem? This is typically stated in a question format.? EXAMPLE: Will taking one aspirin per day for 60 days decrease blood pressure in
females ages 12-14?
2. Research the problem: The researcher will typically gather information on the problem. They
may read accounts and journals on the subject, or be involved in communications with other
scientists.? EXAMPLE: Some people relate stories to doctors that they feel relief from high blood
pressure after taking one aspirin per day. The idea is not scientific if it is untested or if
one person reports this (called anecdotal evidence).
3. Form a probable solution, or hypothesis, to your problem: Make an educated guess as to what
will solve the problem. Ideally this should be written in an if-then format.? EXAMPLE: If a female aged 12-14 takes one aspirin per day for 60 days, then her
blood pressure will decrease.
4. Test your hypothesis: Do an experiment.? EXAMPLE: Test 100 females, ages 12-14, to see if taking one aspirin a day for 60 days
lowers blood pressure in those females.Independent Variable (I.V.): The variable you change, on purpose,
in the experiment. To help students remember it, suggest the phrase
“I change it” emphasizing the Independent variable.
EXAMPLE: In this described experiment, taking an aspirin
or not would be the independent variable. This is what the
experimenter changes between his groups in the experiment.
Dependent Variable (D.V.): The response to the I.V.
EXAMPLE: The blood pressure of the individuals in the
experiment, which may change from the administration of aspirin.Control: The group, or experimental subject, which does not
receive the I.V.
EXAMPLE: The group of females that does not get the dose
Constants: Conditions that remain the same in the experiment.
EXAMPLE: In this scenario some probable constants would
include: only females were used, only females around the same
age, the same dosage of aspirin was given to all the individuals in
the experimental group for the same defined time interval—60
days, the same brand of aspirin was given, the same type of diet
was ideally given to the members of both groups as well as the
same activity level prescribed.
5. Recording and analyzing the data: What sort of results did you get? Data is typically
organized into data tables. The data is then graphed for ease of understanding and visual
appeal.? EXAMPLE: Out of 100 females, ages 12-14 yrs., 76 had lower blood pressure readings
after taking one aspirin per day for 60 days.
6. Stating a conclusion: What does all the data mean? Is your hypothesis supported?? EXAMPLE: The data shows that taking one aspirin per day for 60 days decreases
blood pressure in 76% of the tested females ages 12-14 compared to a decrease in
blood pressure in 11% of the control group. Therefore, the original hypothesis has
been supported, that taking one aspirin per day can decrease blood pressure.
7. Repeating the work: Arguably, the most important part of scientific inquiry! When an
experiment can be repeated and the same results obtained by different experimenters, that
experiment is validated.