Academics - Experimental Design and Statistics
Steps Involved in the Scientific Method
compiled by Dr. Randy Alford, circa 2004
1. State the Problem or Question
2. Formulate the Hypothesis - what you believe will be the outcome of your
experiment or what you believe is the cause of a phenomenon you have observed.
This is your Research Hypothesis or Alternate Hypothesis. To conduct an
experiment, you will also need to formulate a Null Hypothesis.
3. Design the Experiment
Factors to consider:
* Treatments to use to test the hypothesis
* Variables to measure/control – In experiments involving people the control often
requires more attention. (Pre-existing conditions and personalities need to be
accounted for, unlike subjects raised from embryos, these subjects are individuals.)
* Materials and Methods to use – Again, with human subjects this requires a little more
attention to carefully explain HOW you are accounting for individual history.
* Level of Precision of Measuring Tools (accuracy)
* Natural Variation in Population
* Choice of Sample (portion of population used in study)
4. Make Observations / Collect Data - (i.e., write down your observations, the raw materials of research)
* common characteristic is variability
5. Interpret the Data
* Look at the data; does it make sense at a glance? Upon closer inspection?
* How can you explain the results?
* Statistically evaluate the Null Hypothesis
- Draw Conclusions - Can/should we draw any conclusions about the data just yet, or make/take suggestions for improving upon the research design to be used in measuring the next experiments?