A characterization of the scientific method, courtesy of wikipedia:
- Define the question
- Gather information and resources (observe)
- Form hypothesis
- Perform experiment and collect data
- Analyze data
- Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
- Publish results
- Retest (frequently done by other scientists)
An application of the scientific method to the Wheatland Express bus route, courtesy of me:
Question defined: Is the number of minutes that the bus arrives after the scheduled time inversely proportional to the temperature?
Information gathered: 1 to 2 times on weekdays, January 1-January 24, 2008.
Hypothesis formed: When it’s cold, it’s late.
Experiment performed, data collected: Walked to and from bus-stop in weather ranging from 6 to 20 degrees F, noted time that bus arrived.
Analysis of data (sample): 6 deg. F, 17 minutes late; 10 deg. F., 15 minutes late; 15 deg. F., 12 minute late.
Data interpreted, new hypothesis formed: 1) I was right; 2) people around here can’t drive in the snow.
Results published: You’re reading it.
Retesting: After attempting to calculate ratio between temperature and lateness, arrived 7 minutes late in 14 degree weather. Result: Was a block away when the bus arrived at the stop, deposited passengers, and kept on going. Was forced to run over icy sidewalks to next stop.
Conclusion: Failure of scientific method.
(I’d like to thank Logos School and my dad for this brilliant feat of logic and the application of science to real-life situations. Thank you.)