Curiosity is a very important aspect of my life. One of the ways that I foster curiosity is by keeping an open mind and solving new problems. Whenever I am facing a new problem, I try to use the scientific method. Using the scientific method in your daily life can help your problem solving process.
Let’s go into what the scientific method is, and then discuss how we can implement it in our everyday life.
Observation (or find out what the problem is)
The first step in the scientific method is observation. Observing the world around you I’ll keep you in the moment and Identify what the problem is. The ways you can do this is by answering the question who, what, when, where, how, and why. Whether this is part of an actual scientific experiment or just a problem in your daily life, really step back and assess what the actual issue is.
Research the Topic (or gain background information)
Once you have identified the problem, look into what it could be that is causing the problem. Research other possible causes that are out there, and include various different sources in your study. Not only should you consider the content, consider the author and their background and what their intentions for the study might be. This will help you ensure you also gather information from reliable sources.
Form a Hypothesis (or figure out what you think will happen)
Next step in the scientific method is forming a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated prediction based on the information you have and what you think will happen. A hypothesis usually comes in the form of if-then statements. For example if “x” happens, then “y” will happen.
Test with an Experiment (or find ways to solve the issue)
After you have gathered information, create a small experiment to test that hypothesis. Also make sure that you have a control group (the untested group) to measure more accurate results. Having this untested group will give you a baseline.
Analyze the Data (or take time to review)
Once you have run through a full cycle of your experiment, then review and analyze the results from that experiment. You can be honest about what things went well, and what you would do differently next time. When analyzing it, use your hypothesis as a guide for measuring your results.
Finalize Conclusion and Report Findings (or communicate and share with others)
This step is where you will finalize your conclusion. Whether you report this for a school project or an employer, reporting your findings can help others learn from your mistakes and trials! Sharing your experience with others can be a very valuable asset. After you report the findings, check out what the community may be saying and see other valuable lessons you can learn.
If this is something you are truly invested in, try your experiment again! You can change your hypothesis, change the way you conduct the experiment, etc.
If you are going through any problem in life (even if it may not be scientific), it is important to step back and assess. This process can be a great tool to address whatever problem you may be facing. Remember to keep an unbiased view and always do your best to solve the issue.
Here is a downloadable worksheet for all those who want to use the scientific method. If you are currently wanting to try an experiment, check out my blog post on citizen science projects than anyone can do.