The Scientific Method



Before beginning an experiment a scientist must research to discover a topic they might be interested in.   After deciding on a topic research further to gather facts and related experiments to your topic. State your topic (example: Seed Germination)



Identify a problem or question to investigate.   The problem is the scientific question to be solved.   It is best expressed as and “open ended” question, which is a question that is answered with a statement, not just a yes or no.

(Example: How does light affect the germination of bean seeds?)

•  Limit your problem.

•  Choose a problem that can be solved experimentally.



              Tell what you think will be the result of your investigation or activity.

A hypothesis is an idea about the solution to a problem, based on knowledge and research.   All of your project experimenting will be performed to test the hypothesis.   The hypothesis should make a claim about how two factors relate.   (Example: I believe that bean seeds do not need light during germination. I base my hypothesis on the fact that seed packages instruct the user to plant seeds beneath the soil where it is dark.)

•  State facts from past experiences or observations on which you based your hypothesis.

•  Write down your hypothesis before beginning the project experimentation.

•  Don't change your hypothesis even if experimentation does not support it.   If time permits, repeat or redesign the experiment.



              Before stating the procedure to an experiment you must define the variables and the materials that will be used.

              Variables: There are three types of variables that you need to identify in your experiments:

              Independent variable is the variable you purposely manipulate (change) (example – the amount of light) – Only one independent variable per experiment – (Example – in this experiment you would keep all the seed in the dark)

              Dependent variable is the variable being observed that changes in response to the independent variable (example – seed germination)

              Control variables are the variables that are not changed. (example – type of soil, type of bean, container, amount of water- all groups must contain the same factors)


              Control Group – In the control all the conditions are the same as in the experimental group, except the independent variable. (Example – in this group the seeds would be exposed to light, all the other variables would be kept the same)


              Materials: Identify all the materials being used.


              Procedure: State all the steps necessary to test your hypothesis.



Make observations, and take notes about what you observe.   Use tables

to record your data.



Draw conclusions from what you have observed.   Summarize the results of the project experimentation and provide a statement of how the results relate to the hypothesis.   Reasons for experimental results that are contrary to the hypothesis are included.   Your conclusion may end by giving ideas for further testing.



              For researched projects include a list of resources used.