Science is an empirical, systematic enterprise which builds and structures knowledge in the form of predictions and testable predictions about the physical world. The discipline combines theoretical study with the use of scientific methods to generate predictions and to test those predictions. The main goals of science are to describe the workings of nature and to test the predictions of science based on observations. The scientific methods used in science are often objective, meaning that what the scientific research focuses on is what can be measured or observed, while what is not typically measured or observed is not part of the focus of the research.
When you set out to do a science project you will first need a hypothesis, or rather a question which is sufficient to begin a science project. This question may be something as simple as ‘If a coin is tossed in a million ways how many heads would fall off?’ It may turn out to be something much more complex, such as the laws of physics, the behaviour of black holes, or the structure of the universe. Once you have your hypothesis you will want to find evidence to support it. For example if you are studying the mechanics of the big bang theory you will need to look for the predicted behaviour of matter in different wavelengths of light, and also looking for supernovae explosions.
There are two main methods of scientific research: hypothesis-based and theory-based. There is currently a great debate between the two methods, with some scientists arguing that the former is the correct method of scientific investigation, while others subscribe to the rule of chance. No matter which method you choose you can be sure that all scientists make observations and record results, then make further observations and record results, and so on.
Scientists make observations, record results, and then draw general conclusions from the observations they have made. As well as drawing general conclusions about the natural world, this scientific method also allows scientists to make predictions about future natural events. For instance, most scientists believe that the observed warming of the earth’s temperature over the last century is likely to continue in the future. By using the same scientific methods that they have applied to the natural world, scientists can predict what effect climate change will have on plant and animal life, how changes in the weather will affect human populations, and how human activity will impact the natural world.
When scientists are researching a particular area of the natural world, they use many different scientific methods to arrive at their answer. They may use satellites to take a satellite photograph of a specific location, using infrared technology to take a soil sample, using geologists’ instruments to examine layers of the ground for clues. They may even use a laser to shine laser light onto a rock surface to determine the colour and composition of the fossilised layers. When they have their answer, they can write it down in a paper, create a journal article, and describe their findings in a scientific report. But that’s not all there is to this fascinating science.
A hypothesis is the starting point of any scientific study, and when scientists make observations of the natural world, they take hypothesis and begin to formulate theories about the results they see. Once a hypothesis has been formulated, then scientists test it to see whether or not it is correct. The goal of a hypothesis is to provide enough information for the rest of the scientific community to make hypothesis and follow the evidence. This is what scientists use to form theories about the natural world.