9 julio, 2024

Rules of the scientific method: what are they, characteristics

What are the rules of the scientific method?

The scientific method rules The most important for its correct application are reproducibility and refutability. In addition, in this methodology, to obtain new knowledge, observation, investigation, establishment of hypotheses and study of data are necessary.

The scientific method is a procedure used to carry out scientific investigations on empirical phenomena of nature, in which it is possible to establish a solid knowledge about the phenomenon studied.

This method is made up of a series of steps that, when followed within an investigation, increase productivity and improve the perspective of those who carry it out.

The scientific method has been used to ensure that research results are backed by empirical evidence verifiable by the scientific community in general. Therein lies its importance.

In addition, it provides the different branches of science with a common way of understanding each other and of communicating general scientific principles, which will be used by all of them.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the largest and most prestigious scientific associations in the world, establishes that within scientific methodology, the scientific method, which is of a general nature, is combined with the specialized techniques of each science in particular for the production of knowledge.

Most important rules of the scientific method

The scientific method has a set of rules with which all research and experimentation work must comply, which guarantee that its results meet the necessary criteria to be recognized as scientific knowledge, that is, knowledge supported by evidence.

These rules are the reproducibility and the refutability.

reproducibility

The first rule is reproducibility. It is the process by which the procedure, the evidence and the results obtained in an investigation are made public and transparent, so that they are made accessible to the scientific community in general.

It has to do with the ability of an experiment or trial to be reproduced or replicated by other people, obtaining the same results.

The credibility of scientific statements is based on the evidence that supports them, since these have been obtained through a certain applied methodology, a series of data collected and analyzed, and their interpretation.

Therefore, the principles established on the basis of an investigation that can be reproduced on different occasions and yield the same results, will be reliable principles.

In the above lies the importance of this rule, since when applied, it allows the research procedures to be disseminated and known by other researchers, and this allows them to experience the same processes, and verify them.

When applying the scientific method, it is necessary that the research and all the methodology used in it can be subsequently reviewed, criticized and reproduced. Only in this way can your results be credible.

Without this transparency that the reproducibility rule allows, results could only achieve credibility based on trust in the author, and transparency is a superior means of trust.

refutability

Refutability is a rule that establishes that any truly scientific statement is capable of being refuted. If absolute truths were established in science, it would implicitly affirm that demonstrated knowledge can never be contradicted in the future.

The scientific method rejects the existence of this possibility, since it is thought that a way could always be devised to contradict, with experimentation, specific or isolated parts of an investigation.

This would yield different results than expected, and with it, an impossibility and relativity would be generated when it comes to establishing scientific knowledge.

Due to the above, the desirable status of a scientific statement will always be that of «not refuted», and not that of «has been fully verified».

To the extent that a scientific statement overcomes various analyzes, criticisms, and experimentation processes dedicated to contradicting it, its reliability will be increasingly verified and strengthened.

Another important aspect within this rule is that, since scientific knowledge is based on experimental demonstration, the refutability of a scientific statement is only possible, in the same way, through experimentation.

Consequently, if a postulate could not be disproved through experimentation, it would not really be a rigorous postulate.

A common example to illustrate this is the following: the statement «it will rain or it will not rain here tomorrow» cannot be affirmed or disproved empirically, and therefore, the rule of refutability could not be applied, according to which all statements must be capable of be refutable.

In the same way that a theory can only be verified on the basis of evidence produced in experimentation, a truly scientific statement cannot be stated in such a way that it is impossible to refute it through experimentation.

Any scientific statement must meet the requirement of the rule of refutability, and if it does not, it cannot be considered to meet the criteria of the scientific method.

References

CAREY, S. (2011). A beginner’s guide to scientific method. Recovered from books.google.com
FOUREZ, G. (1994). The construction of scientific knowledge: sociology and ethics of science. Retrieved from books.google.com

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