Discuss the importance of each step in the scientific method. Why do you think scientists utilize this type of experimentation and reasoning?
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Steps of the scientific method
1. Name the problem or question: Important because you need to know exactly what you're trying to determine/solve. If you don't have a clearly defined problem, none of the other steps are relevant.
2. Form an educated guess (hypothesis) of the cause of the problem and make predictions based upon the hypothesis
You need to formulate a theory, based on what you know, of the expected results. The reason you make a prediction is so that you can develop a repeatable test which will nullify alternative possibilities, but not your prediction.
3. Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment or study (with proper controls)
Great, you have a theory; now make sure that it holds up. Objectively observe the results of the experiment, but do not draw any conclusions, that would taint the experiment.
4. Check and interpret your results: Now you get to draw conclusions. Take a look at your observations from the experiment (step 3) and see if they match up with what you expected from your hypothesis (step 2). Try to explain why or why not
5. Report your results to the scientific community: Report it so other people can verify and repeat your work, and provide alternative theories which you hadn't thought of, or possibly develop another experiment which eliminates your hypothesis as a possibility.
Scientists use this method because it works. More specifically, it provides us with detailed information about the universe based on observable facts (as opposed to starting with a conclusion and then looking for evidence to support it). It is objective and seeks constant improvement.