Science is everywhere. It isn’t just in laboratories or in dusty lecture halls. We use it to explain everything in our world and out of it. Thinking like a scientist will help you become more in tune with reality, because science is the search for truth. It seems these days that the truth is becoming less and less important. People are following what a group thinks, rather than analysing a situation and coming up with their own opinion.
You can use some simple steps that all scientists use in their work and in their life to better understand the world. One of the good things about these steps, which we call The Scientific Method, is that it is an ongoing process, because the world never stops changing. Something that was true 30 years ago may not be true now.
So how do you use The Scientific Method?
Part 1: Ask a Question.
This can be any How, What, When, Who, Which, Why or Where question. Why is the sky blue? Who took my food out of the fridge? Is the Earth’s temperature changing? Any question in your life, no matter how big or small, can be tested using The Scientific Method.
Part 2: Do Background Research.
With the internet these days, there is so much information available, you would be silly not to use it. The problem is anyone can write anything, so you need to research as much as possible from credible sources. NASA knows a lot about space, so what they say about black holes may have more worth than what Joe from down the street says.
Part 3: Construct a Hypothesis
A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work. It is an attempt to answer your initial question. A good hypothesis will allow you to make a prediction. If my initial question was “Why is the sky blue?”, after doing my research my hypothesis could be “The sky is a giant screen and there is a big blue lamp shining light onto it”. A prediction I could get from this is that there is a giant blue lamp somewhere on Earth shining a light on to the screen. This is obviously a bad hypothesis.
Part 4: Test your Hypothesis by doing an Experiment
If I take the hypothesis from above, I could construct an experiment to see if it fits the prediction. This could involve searching the world for a big blue lamp shining on the sky, which obviously does not exist. The experiment would fail.
Part 5: Analyse your data and draw a conclusion
At this point, I would collect my data (in this case, it would be that I can’t find a giant blue lamp) and analyse it to see if it fits the prediction of my hypothesis. For my hypothesis, the experiment did not prove
the prediction, so my hypothesis is not supported. At this point I can go back to step 1,2 or 3 and start again. Maybe I need to ask a different question, or I need to do more research, or I need to change my
Eventually you will come up with a hypothesis that is supported by your experimentation. At this point you can continue to come up with more predictions and more experiments to test your hypothesis even more. In the scientific world, if it passes a very large number of these experiments, and never fails one, it becomes a theory. Most people think a theory is an educated guess (which is actually a hypothesis), but really a theory is something that has been tested again and again, and each time it has been supported by the evidence. So now you know what The Scientific Method is, and the difference between a hypothesis and a theory.
This process can be used for every question you have in your life, and it will lead you to the correct answer. You obviously can’t be so strict with the method in everything in your life, but by questioning things in this certain way, you will find the truth more often than not.