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STEP OR STAGE #9 of the Scientific Method


Scientific Method Conclusion

Begin by reviewing the starting guides listed at the beginning of Step or Stage #6. You have challenged your working hypothesis. Now comes the conclusion when using the Scientific Method.

If your scientific method hypothesis is partially wrong, you backtrack, modify, and then challenge again. If completely wrong, you backtrack and take another path.

We learn from our failures. Do not become discouraged! Even great men and women are frequently wrong. If your hypothesis passes the important tests, including attempts to falsify - you have reached your conclusion!

Scientific Method Review

Your Conclusion Should Be (Among Other Things):

  • broad enough to fit all acceptable data;
  • limited enough to meet special exceptions;
  • consistent when tested by you (and others) again and again;
  • seldom extended beyond the evidence;
  • suitable to base a report on, if one is scheduled; and
  • an answer to the problem, as you have finally defined it.

Scientific Method Questions

Take a Good "Look Back" to Re-evaluate Your Investigation

  • Gathered all the evidence?
  • Ethical considerations?
  • Experiments properly performed?
  • Is the overall accuracy good?
  • No fraud by teammates?
  • No bias has crept in?
  • Variables properly controlled?
  • No wrong assumptions?
  • Any other possible goofs or errors?
  • Anything overlooked?
  • All consequences considered?
  • Feedback?
  • Any conceptual blocks??
  • Environment considered?

Scientific Method Review

Things to Do Now (Preparation for Step or Stage #11 - Take Action)

While everything is fresh in your memory, think about and prepare notes on:
  • Limitations: If there were any limitations on your efforts or results in defining the problem, the search for evidence, or the challenge phase, include them in preparation for reporting under Stage #11.
  • Speculations and Looking Forward: If you were doing a project that advances the knowledge in your field, you might want to prepare some speculations or predictions even beyond what the evidence supports. Label as speculations.
  • Research and the Scientific Method: Based on your experience, make recommendations and give warnings, hints, and references to those who may try to challenge, verify or falsify your conclusions.
  • Conclusion Recommendations and Presentation: If you work on a decision problem, plan, management problem, etc., you may want to prepare recommendations based on your conclusions to submit to authorities.

Scientific Method Conclusion

Intelligent Compromise

In problem-solving or decision-making, in the "inexact" social sciences, etc., your conclusions may have to be an intelligent compromise. The solution of any problem (and its acceptance) depends on good human relations. Consult those who will be affected by your conclusions.

History of the Scientific Method

US Supreme Court's Conclusion About the Scientific Method

In the 1993 Supreme Court decision, Daubert v Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., the court reviewed the definitions of scientific evidence, scientific knowledge, scientific validity and good science. As part of this case, the American Medical Association, et al, filed an Amicus brief in support of the respondent and stated:

"Scientific Knowledge" within the meaning of Rule 702 is knowledge derived from the application of the scientific method.

As part of its decision, the Supreme Court declared:

But in order to qualify as "scientific knowledge" an inference or assertion must be derived by the scientific method. Proposed testimony must be supported by appropriate validation - i.e., "good grounds," based on what is known.

Therefore, the official position of the US government is that the scientific method exists. This decision clearly indicates to all agencies of the United States that the scientific method exists. For proper justice to be rendered, our attorneys, judges and the general public, from whom jurors are chosen, should be familiar with the scientific method. It should be included in all scientific method lesson plans. For more information on this decision, see Research Report #18.