The Scientific thinking and its method

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my family for their support and their encouragements. I would also like to thank my professor, Miss Sally, whose help and expert guidance allowed me to achieve this work.

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Asmaa Adam

Scientific thinking and its method

AAST

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this project is to bring out the importance that have scientific thinking upon our ways of adding knowledge and even to our everyday life. The project analyzes this importance on three aspects which are the belief on a natural explanation to each phenomenon, the rejection of any authoritarian truth in favor of research of reliable knowledge and the impact of scientific thinking on solving daily problems, also, it explicates step by step how we can practice effectively the scientific method and thus, obtain satisfying results. However more details concerning this topic will be discussed.

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Asmaa Adam

Scientific thinking and its method

AAST

Asmaa Adam

Scientific thinking and its method

AAST

GLOSSARY

Experiment: A test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, or examine the validity of a hypothesis.
Hypothesis: A limited statement regarding cause and effect in specific situations; it also refers to our state of knowledge before experimental work has been performed and perhaps even before new phenomena have been predicted.

Problem: A question to be considered, solved or answered
Science: A systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the world and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories. Scientific: Related to science.
Scientific inquiry:A close examination of a matter in a search for information or truth,especially in the scientific field.
Theory: An assumption based on limited information or knowledge. Trial-and-error: A method of reaching a correct solution or satisfactory result by trying out various means or theories until error is sufficiently reduced or eliminated.

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Scientific thinking and its method

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1. INTRODUCTION
There are numerous ways of learning and discovering about nature,but science is the only method that results in the acquisition of reliable knowledge,that is to say, a knowledge with a high probability of being true because its veracity has been justified by a trustworthy method. This method in question,is the scientific method. And, when someone is using it to study or investigate nature, he is practicing scientific thinking. Our work will be firstly to give a brief history of the evolution of science,secondly, we will enumerate the various ways of discovering new facts,then thirdly, we will point out the importance of scientific thinking after what I will give its basic components and finally we will show how to practice efficiently the scientific method.

1.1 Definitions

Scientific thinking is that mode of thinking -about any scientific subject, content or problem- in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

Scientific method is a process used to systematically investigate observations, solve problems, and test hypotheses.

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Scientific thinking and its method

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2. BRIEF HISTORY OF EVOLUTION OF SCIENCE
The dawn of the seventeenth century is recognized to be the century of “scientific revolution” because of the outstanding progresses made in science during that period in Europe. The term “revolution” implies a period of effervescence and social disruption where the concepts that people had about the world was seriously modified and a totally new epoch of academic though is taken. This term, therefore, describes quite accurately what took place in the scientific community following the sixteenth century. At that period,medieval scientific philosophy was put away in favor of the new methods proposed by Bacon,Galileo, Descartes and Newton; the importance of experimentation to the scientific method was reaffirmed; the belief in God to science was mostly discarted, and researches on science gained more validity on its own terms. Modifications of ancient idea of science took place because of four reasons: (1) seventeenth century scientists and philosophers were able to collaborate with members of the mathematical and astronomical communities to effect advances in all fields; (2) scientists realized the inadequacy of medieval experimental methods for their work and so felt the need to devise new methods (some of which we use today); (3) academics had access to a legacy of European, Greek, and Middle Eastern scientific philosophy they could use as a starting point (either by disproving or building on the theorems); and (4) groups like the British Royal Society helped validate science as a field by providing an outlet for the publication of scientists’ work. These changes were not immediate, nor did they directly create the experimental method used today, but they did represent a step toward Enlightenment thinking (with an emphasis on reason) that was revolutionary for the time. Assessment of the state of science before the scientific revolution, examination of the differences in the experimental methods utilized by different “scientists” during the seventeenth century, and exploration into how advances made during the scientific revolution affected the scientific method used in science today will provide an idea of how revolutionary the breakthroughs of the seventeenth century really were and what impact they’ve had.

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Scientific thinking and its method

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3. METHOD OF LEARNING NEW FACTS

The common ways of acquiring new knowledge are chance, trial-and-error and generalization from experience. It’s plausibly by chance that man learned first about fire, through inadvertent means. Also, he knew that certain herbs were harmful after tasting them and noticing their after-effects. Thus, during a long period, he gathered an important mass of helpful information. Another method, completely different from the previous ones is logic. Here, we reason things out. And finally, the most advanced method is research or scientific inquiry, by which it is possible to reach a solution to a certain problem after meticulous investigation.

4. IMPORTANCE OF SCIENTIFIC THINKING
In the first place, scientific thinking is based upon the belief that a natural explanation can be found for every observable phenomenon. It assumes that the universe is an ordered cosmos in which there is no result without a cause. Whereas primitive man ascribed anything unusual that he might see or hear to the special intervention of the gods, modern man looks for natural causes. Although there still remain many areas of knowledge that have resisted scientific investigation, we have remarkable success in applying this fundamental assumption of the scientific method. In the second place, this mode of thinking rejects reliance upon authority and substitutes the idea that conclusion are valid only when supported by evidence. The modern scholar does not accept any fact unless it is proved by undeniable elements. This entailed both direct observation and experiment.

Third, while the scientific method is necessary in developing scientific knowledge, it is also useful in everyday problem-solving, such as when studying history or literature, investigating societies or governments, seeking solutions to problems of economics or philosophy, or just trying to answer personal questions about oneself or the meaning of existence. For instance, what do you do when your telephone doesn’t work? Is the problem in the hand set, the cabling inside your house, the hookup outside, or in the workings of the phone company? The process you might go through to solve this problem could involve scientific thinking, and the results might contradict your initial expectations.

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Scientific thinking and its method

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5. BASIC COMPONENTS OF SCIENTIFIC THINKING
Scientific thinking is made of three things:
5.1 Empiricism

Empirical evidence is evidence that one can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell: it is evidence that is susceptible to one’s senses. It is important because others besides yourself can experience it, and it is repeatable, so empirical evidence can be checked by yourself and others after knowledge claims are made by an individual. Empirical evidence is the only type of evidence that possesses these attributes and is therefore the only type used by scientists and critical thinkers to make vital decisions and reach sound conclusions.

5.2 Rationalism

Scientists and critical thinkers always use logical reasoning. Logic allows us to reason correctly, but it is a complex topic and not easily learned that’s why, most individuals do not reason logically. They have never learned how to do so. Logic is not an ability that humans are born with or one that will gradually develop and improve on its own, but is a skill or discipline that must be learned within a formal educational environment.

5.3 skepticism

The final key idea in science and critical thinking is skepticism, the constant questioning of your beliefs and conclusions. Good scientists and critical thinkers constantly examine the evidence, arguments, and reasons for their beliefs.

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Scientific thinking and its method

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6. SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN PRACTICE
The scientific method comprises of asking and satisfying scientific questions. This is made possible by making observations and performing experiments. The experiments executed must be a “fair” test. A test is said to be fair only if one variable is Changed while keeping all the other constant. The scientific method is used to detect the cause and effect
relations in nature. Experiments are devised in such a way that if one item is varied, the variations in another item can be predicted. There are six steps of scientific method as follows:

-State the problem
The scientific method begins when the problem is identified. By using the words why, when, how, where, which, who or what, we ask a question concerning the problem to be investigated. The answer to the question must be something that can be measured and preferably a number.

-Perform background research
Then observations and collection of crucial elements to the problem are made. -Construct a hypothesis
The third step of the scientific method is to form a Hypothesis. The hypothesis is formed by examining the observations carefully and making an educated guess as to what the outcome might be. Two things must be kept in mind while stating a hypothesis: first it must be possible to measure the terms in the hypothesis and second the hypothesis must answer the original question.

– Conduct an experiment
The experiment that is performed proves the authenticity of the hypothesis. The experiment must be unbiased in nature, meaning that the scientist cannot create an experiment that will favor the outcome that they have predicted in their hypothesis. So care must be taken that the experiment is a fair test.

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Scientific thinking and its method

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– deduce a conclusion
The fifth step of the scientific method is to draw a conclusion. Scientists draw conclusions by examining the data from the experiment. There are basically two possible outcomes. Either the experiment disproved the hypothesis, in this case, repeat the steps in the scientific method and make adjustments to your hypothesis or the experiment supported the hypothesis and can be regarded as true, however, it is essential to check it again by using a different theory.

-Publish the results
The results of the experiment and the hypothesis must be conveyed to others through a display board or by publishing a final report. When others perform the same experiment and get same results, the hypothesis becomes rock solid. The scientific method is described as a series of steps. However, new thoughts or information may necessitate going backwards and repeating the steps. As the scientific method comprises backing up and repetition it is called an “iterative process”.

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Scientific thinking and its method

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7. CONCLUSION
In this work, we first did a brief overview on the scientific revolution and then, we have emphasized that the scientific method distinguishes science from other forms of explanation because of its requirement of systematic experimentation. This is why the scientific method is the most reliable and successful method of thinking in human history, and it is quite possible to use it in every field, thus, we have gave rise to the importance of scientific thinking and its necessity. Also, we have pointed out its three principles which are the empiricism, the rationalism and the skepticism. Finally, we have tried to explain step by step the scientific method.

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Asmaa Adam

Scientific thinking and its method

AAST

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A Miniature Guide For Students And Faculty to Scientific Thinking. Retrieved on May 9, 2010, from
http://www.cos.edu/ImageUpload_Links/ScientificThinking- DC.pdf

The Impact of the Scientific Revolution: A Brief History of the Experimental Method in the 17th Century. Retrieved on May 12, 2010, from
http://cnx.org/content/m13245/latest/

The Scientific Method. Retrieved on May 23, 2010, from
http://www.brandonbeltz.com/scimeth/index.htm

The Scientific Method. Retrieved on May 23,2010, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
An Introduction to Science. Retrieved on May 22, 2010 from
http://www.freeinquiry.com/intro-to-sci.html

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Asmaa Adam

Scientific thinking and its method