Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.
The most interesting thing about science is that it’s never finished. Every discovery leads to more questions, new mysteries, to something else that needs explaining. It’s a case of ‘the more we know, the more we know we know nothing at all’. For example, the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA revolutionized our understanding of biology, bringing up whole new areas to be studied such as genetic modification and synthetic biology.
Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.
Steps in the scientific method
- Make an Observation: You can’t study what you don’t know is there. This is why scientists are so curious—they’re always looking for patterns, trends, questions, and problems that we don’t understand. Once a scientist finds a really interesting pattern that they want to know more about, they move onto the next step.
- Ask a Question: Once a scientist finds an interesting thing to study, they need to ask a question that hopefully they can answer. A question that you could ask about alkaline water might be, “Does alkaline water actually make people healthier?”
- Do Background Research: To find out the answer to your question, you need to know what potential answers are. That’s where background research comes in, remembering that not everything you read online is true. Use reliable sources, like Google Scholar…and untamedscience.com!
- Form a Hypothesis: A hypothesis is a statement of what you think the answer to your question is. It’s different from the question you formed because it’s answering the question you developed with a specific prediction that you’ll go on to test. A good hypothesis should be falsifiable, meaning that it’s possible to prove it wrong. Let’s say that your background research showed there wasn’t much of an effect on overall health. A hypothesis for this might be: “Drinking alkaline water has no effect on how well people feel.”Your turn: What is a potential hypothesis that you might have for your question?
- Conduct an Experiment: How do you find an answer to your hypothesis? You conduct an experiment to test it! Depending on what a scientist is studying, an experiment can be very quick or take years—some experiments have even been going on for hundreds of years! Designing a good experiment is a whole industry that some scientists spend their whole careers working on. But any good science experiment must always serve its one main function: to prove or disprove a hypothesis.