Lessons on the Scientific Method:
#2 of 5 on Basic Theories of Scientific Method

The Value of Method


The Scientific Method Power Point

The scientific method serves the important function of guiding our thinking. “Method consists of a set of operations by which the machinery of thoughts set going and kept at work on any subject.” (John Dewey in How We Think,1933). The word “method” has been used for a long time, while the term “scientific method” didn’t come into use until the 19th century when the word scientist originated. Many other words have been used in a similar manner as “method” such as:

technique
process
system
formula
routine
phase
model
guide
mode
approach
framework
heuristic
procedure
path strategy

“Technique” seems to be the most commonly used term after “method.” Most of the above indicate that “method” is a collective term for a series of steps, stages, guides, phases, elementary constituents, etc.

The Power of Method – in Problem Solving and Research

In The Concept of Method, (1985) Justus Buchler refers to the common expression “the power of a method.” Every day you constantly use methods; this lesson will help you better use the power of a method to improve your problem solving and research ability.

Without method, we are left with chance. Chance is the opposite of method, and we would have a very disorganized world without methods and techniques. But what is method? Unfortunately, method is an ambiguous word. It is so ambiguous that it has been widely misused and misinterpreted in the fields of science and knowledge.


Development of the Scientific Method

There is no better example of the power of a method that uses steps or stages than the results produced by the scientific method throughout the development of modern civilization. I did a search of the literature on the value of method. This is what various authors emphasize who helped in the development of the scientific method.


The Advantages of Method:
organizes our thoughts
clarifies our thoughts
ends aimless wandering
helps ideas gather shape
routes to new knowledge
increases self-confidence
encourages conceptual thinking
aids specific transfer of learning
doesn’t have to be reinvented
avoids relying only on intuition
doesn’t have to be learned by osmosis
gives direction on future problems
trains for change and innovation
keeps us pointed in the right direction


The Opposite of Method Is Chance
  • Haphazard guesses
  • Wrong analysis
  • Wasted time
  • No solutions
  • Confusion
  • Wasted energy
  • Quick fixes
  • Wandering aimlessly
  • Misdirection
  • Mistakes and errors