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Supporting Ingredients to The Scientific Method (SM-14)

They are:
#12 - Creative, Non-logical, Logical & Technical Methods
#13 - Procedural Principles & Theories
#14 - Attributes & Thinking Skills

INGREDIENT #12 of the Scientific Method:


Science & the Scientific Method

NOTE: By including these supporting ingredients, the SM-14 formula now (revised 1997), reflects the whole system of science and the system of the complete method of creative problem solving and decision making. Science and the Scientific Method are one and the same.

Teaching the Scientific Method

For teaching students and for general understanding of the scientific method we need to properly identify the working, action, effective and applied methods that produce actual results.

The Supporting Ingredients are Action Methods

When they are applied to any of the mental activity Steps or Stages 1 to 11, they can help solve or decide. This is in contrast to the Steps or Stages 1 to 11 which are subject neutral and merely guides to the mental activities of problem solving and decision making.

These are used under the first eleven steps or stages of SM-14. "Methods" as used here include such elements and auxiliary actions as:

Processes Procedures Tactics
Techniques Approaches Systems
Operations Strategies Programs

Creative Methods

There is a need to standardize on a term for the above. I recommend either action methods or techniques.

Non-logical Methods

While it may not be "scientific" to use non-logical methods, nevertheless, in actual practice, scientists and all problem solvers are always using them.

Time is often the main reason these are used. Some non-logical methods used result from habits, emotions, trial and error, arbitrariness, haste, frustration, closed mindedness, experimentation, unreasoned opinions, risk taking, intuitive pure guess, etc.

Be alert to whether they affect your results favorably or unfavorably. Chance, accidental discovery, fortunate occurrences, unanticipated novelty, effective surprise, and serendipity probably are non-logical methods or ways.

Logical Methods (in the broadest sense)

Any method based on sound reasoning is classified here as logical. Some researchers may apply logical methods based on accepted rules of reasoning standardized by logicians.

Usually, though, people use "semi-intuitive" logic resulting from their base of experiences, thinking skills, and knowledge. Examples of well-known logical methods based on reasoning and experience are methods of:

surveying controlled variations
falsification artificial intelligence
trial and error pattern identification
classification reviewing the literature

Technical Methods

A method involving measuring, mathematics, use of tools, instruments, and apparatus can be termed "technical." No standard exists to determine what methods to term "technical."

Since most others are general methods for all types of problems, some authors point out that these technical methods are really the only ones that can accurately be called methods of science or scientific methods.

An Important Distinction

Scientific Methods vs. The Scientific Method

Technically when people suggest using "scientific methods," it means they want the technical methods used that are described above. Usually they actually mean that the methods of science or the scientific method be used.

It is recommended that instead of scientific methods, people suggest the use of the scientific method.

Science &the Scientific Method

Proceeding Scientifically

This is explained in Introduction to Logic (1982) by Irving M. Copi (1917 - ) - philosopher, educator, and author of books on logic:

As the term "scientific" is generally used today, it refers to any reasoning which attempts to proceed from observable facts of experience to reasonable (that is, relevant and testable) explanations for those facts. The scientific method is not confined to professional scientists; anyone can be said to be proceeding scientifically who follow the general pattern of reasoning from evidence to conclusions that can be tested by experience. The skilled detective is a scientist in this sense, as are most of us -- in our more rational moments, at least.