People frequently believe that science employs the scientific method. They are correct in that science is a technique for accomplishing a goal, but they are incorrect in focusing on a specific way or cognitive process.
If science’s purpose is to increase knowledge, then the process of practicing science is to ask and answer questions.
Understanding, on the one hand, and discovery, on the other, are the two most important parts of science.
There is an exciting and fruitful dynamic tension or synergism between these two. The link between these two components and their conclusion in the application is depicted in the diagram below (technology).
Recognizing The Flow
We chart out new locations for exploration based on our current understanding.
This investigation entails formulating hypotheses (asking the appropriate questions) and attempting to answer them.
The questions prompt some experiment, whether a Gedanken (thinking) experiment, a computer computation, or a hitherto unseen chemical reaction.
For the experimentation stage, two key attitudes or activities are required.
The first is intelligent observation, which necessitates active interaction with the experiment by the observer. This necessitates not only seeing but also asking questions about what is being observed and striving to comprehend the results. Yogi Bera once said of conducting tests, “You can see a lot by staring.”
The second attitude, like the first, is based on luck. This mindset is one of anticipating an unintentional or unexpected discovery. “Chance favors the prepared mind,” stated Louis Pasteur.
The most important aspect of the experiment is that you want to make a discovery. Put it another way, come up with something new or different from what you expected. Of course, you seek to address and answer specific questions when creating the experiment, indicating that you have a rough understanding of the answer. On the other hand, true scientific breakthroughs nearly always come as a result of witnessing something unexpected, something different that alters our thinking and knowledge.
Understanding and discovery operate together synergistically.
If the discovery process is successful, an unexpected discovery is made. Before this discovery can be employed and integrated into the larger body of knowledge, it must first be comprehended.
To comprehend a new finding, you must follow the scientific method uniquely. You must re-ask questions regarding the discovery, formulate hypotheses (an experiment or technique of answering the question), and test whether the idea fits the facts and observations made during the discovery.
Creating relationships and concepts is another mental component of transforming findings into comprehension.
You must place the discovery into a framework of related behavior once you have confirmed it and mapped out its constraints and qualities.
What are the connections between your discovery and other areas of science?
What must additional concepts be utilized or developed to broaden the scope of the discovery?
What will old ideas have to be changed to meet this discovery?