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STEP OR STAGE #5 of the Scientific Method


Logic & the Scientific Method

Logical Solutions (or Trial and Error)

You can solve many problems the same way many great discoveries have been made - by trial and error or by using gradual, systematic, steady, analytical, and judicial reasoning and logic.

You gather the data and fit it together. What was a puzzle falls into a logical order.Aha! You now have a discovery or solution to your problem. Most importantly, however, problems are solved by the leap of the imagination, as often the solutions are infinite.

Creativity & the Scientific Method

Innovative Solutions

Search out other people's ideas. Use as they are or adapt for your particular problem by combining reflective thinking and your creative abilities. How to teach the Scientific Method should include this.

Creative Solutions / Use of Imagination

Creativity is usually described as taking two existing ideas and combining them into a new and better idea. It may also be termed:

intuition lateral thinking productive thinking
ideation innovation flash of inspiration
insight guided design generative thinking
divergent thinking    
Successful people have also found imaginative thinking helpful in deciding what ideas or directions not to use or consider in detail.

Learning the Scientific Method

Following are what I consider to be the most important methods in learning the Scientific Method:

Reflective Thinking

Search, explore, follow leads, gather pertinent data, information, basic principles, concepts, and use reflective thinking.

You can also use rest-illumination or rest-insight. Load your mind with subject data, rest, then start thinking about your problem again in a relaxed manner.


Things that stimulate your mind's store of stocked memories and cause recall and new train of thought.

It is best to load your mind with data pertinent to your current problem. It is the prepared or loaded mind that can best be triggered.

At that point, you then:

Pick minds Browse through a store
Have discussions Experiment or Visualize
Brainstorm Attend conferences and exhibits
Search your files Use a computer idea program
While you are doing all these things, you are reflecting on your problem as you acquire more information.

Then, EUREKA!, suddenly ILLUMINATION comes or more gradual insight climaxes! Something has triggered your mind and you have an idea, lead, discovery or a tentative solution.

This may be a small or very big idea.

Intuition Explained

The booklet page on "Intuition and a Short Model SM-14" explains intuition.

Logic & Creativity vs. Exercise Problems

Exercise problems, textbook problems, puzzle problems, and game proglems are used extensively in schoolwork and in tests. while usually referred to as "problems," they really should be called what they are - oneof the above names. Schools are teaching the methods, techniques, formulas, strategies, and domain-specific information needed to solve them.

While they serve a useful purpose, they are not sufficient preparation for the everyday, real-world problems that we must face. Students need to be taught the scientific method (SM-14) and allowed to select real world problems to solve. They will then learn logic and the scientific method along with creativity.

Paul D. Hurd, in an article in AAAS's book, Scientific Literacy (1989), reports that since 1983 over 300 reports on the condition of education in the United States have been issued. He states:

Consensus also exists among the reports' goal for science education. The goals ae to develop the abilities to solve problems encountered in the workplace and in the conduct of personal life and civic responsibility ...