Experimental Design by the Scientific Method

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
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The Scientific Method is an organized, methodical, and structured way of finding information. It is as follows:

  1. Make observations.

  2. Formulate a hypothesis to explain the observations.

  3. Try to disprove the hypothesis.

  4. If not disproven, continue testing.

  5. If the hypothesis is not disproven, it becomes a theory.

  6. After many years, if not disproven, it becomes a law.

Experimental Design consists of four steps. These are taken to ensure that results are credible and reproducible.
StepOverview

Control Variables

Control all variables except one. This necessitates: a sufficiently large group; random assignment; and different backgrounds (ie, ethnicity, sex or location).

Double-Blind

Double-blind means that participants and experimenters are unaware which group a subject is in. This prevents the placebo effect from discrediting results.

Hypothesis

After conducting the actual experiment, a hypothesis is formed to explain observations. A hypothesis could be, "I like apples more than oranges" or "I like apples just as much as oranges."

Null Hypothesis

The opposite of the hypothesis is also tested. For example, "I like apples just as much as oranges" or "I do not like apples and oranges equally", respectively.