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Scientific Method 1

Scientific Method

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The question is defined thusly: do plants grow toward the light source they

use to make their food? The information was gathered by observing plants placed

near a window. It was discerned that they were growing towards the window and

the light they used to make food for themselves. It was inferred that this would be

the universal occurrence, and the hypothesis was formed. If plants are placed near

windows to grow, then they will grow toward the light source. The experiment was

performed and the data collected. Three plants were placed with a light source to

the left of them and three plants with a light at their right. With this information in

hand, an analysis of the information found that the leaves of the left sourced light

had grown to turn toward the light’s direction and the tops grew in the same manor.

The other plants, the subjects with the right side light source turned in that direction

and the tops grew to that side as well. This data is interpreted to mean that the

light source does cause the plants to grow in its direction. Though a hypothesis

cannot be proven, the conjecture was not disproven. From this, however, a new

hypothesis can be formed. If a plant has begun to grow lopsidedly, then changing

the direction of the source of its light will aid in straightening its growth. Or

perhaps, six hours of light each day will be enough to cause the plants to turn in

that direction. Once a hypothesis has been determined not to be false, a number of

hypotheses can be made, based on what the experimenter desired to find. When

this information is published, others will be able to replicate, retest, and arrive at

the same conclusions.

This same scientific method can be used in less formally structured

experiments in everyday life. It assists with problem solving and finding the
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answers to questions otherwise outside of our understanding. Often, that which is

cast off as phenomenon, a miracle, or in explicable can be disproven, explicated, or

otherwise debunked with the use of science. Science merely means that the

knowledge was gathered with empirical evidence and based on reason. Through

observation and experiment, hypotheses are formed and tested. A hypothesis

cannot be proven true, only false. This forms the precedent for new hypotheses.

Others will be able to reproduce the results, test these theories, and form their own

conclusions.

In my personal life, my question was easily defined, “How can I make my

daughter fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night?” Just as with scientists

before me, my question came from a problem I had that needed fixing. The

information I gathered on full nights’ sleep was both firsthand and secondary. I read

up on what experts had to say on the subject. I also noted for a while which nights

she slept most soundly, observing and writing down what happened on the nights

she fell asleep and stayed asleep. It wasn’t a science-driven decision. I just needed

my problem fixed. I needed to sleep! I saw that the best nights of sleep followed a

particular pattern: active day, followed by a warm and quiet bath, a feeding, some

cuddling with Mommy time, and then putting her to bed awake and tired. That was

my desired result, and I used it to form my hypothesis. If I follow the pattern

outlined, then my daughter will fall asleep effortlessly and sleep for a full night. I

did this every night that I could. Babies are not very catering to silly things like

respect for a schedule. On the nights that I did not, I noted that as well. With the

non-patterned night as a control, I analyzed the information I had. After about two

weeks, each night I followed my routine, I achieved my desired goal. When I did not

or could not do what I planned, I was unsuccessful. Based on this, I used the
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information I had learned to form new hypotheses. Cuddling before bed helps baby

stay asleep. Warm baths make it easier to fall asleep. An active day provides

longer nights’ sleep. Each one could have its own experiment until I found exactly

what the best way to put her to bed was. I published my results by talking with

other moms of babies my daughter’s age and discussing my successes on message

boards with similar scientists (moms) to try for themselves.

With these two examples, it is easy to see how the scientific method grew

and evolved into what it is today. Using my real-life example adapted to be

explained into the scientific method and the plant experiment actually performed

specifically as scientific method delineates, I have gained better understanding of

its importance.
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Reference Page

Scientific Method. (23 November 2008) Wikipedia. Retrieved December 21, 2008,

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Stein Carter, J. (12 August 2000). The Scientific Method. Retrieved December 21,

2008, http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio104/sci_meth.htm