Scientific Method of Research : Meaning and History

we first need to understand the meaning of science before scientific methods. so that we learn about science history and facts.

What Is Science?

Some people are surprised to learn that psychology is a science. They generally agree that astronomy, biology, and chemistry are sciences but wonder what psychology has in common with these other fields. Psychology is a science because it takes this same general approach to understand one aspect of the natural world: human behavior.

Features of Science: 

What is the meaning of Systematic Empiricism? 

Empiricism refers to learning based on observation, and scientists learn about the natural world systematically, by carefully planning, making, recording, and analyzing observations of it.

What is the meaning of Empirical Questions?

These are questions about the way the world actually is and, therefore, can be answered by systematically observing it. The question of whether women talk more than men is empirical in this way.

What is the meaning of Public knowledge?

After asking their empirical questions, making their systematic observations, and drawing their conclusions, scientists publish their work. This usually means writing an article for publication in a professional journal, in which they put their research question in the context of previous research, describe in detail the methods they used to answer their question, and clearly present their results and conclusions.

 

Science Versus Pseudoscience

What is the meaning of Pseudoscience?

refers to activities and beliefs that are claimed to be scientific by their proponents—and may appear to be scientific at first glance—but are not.

              Consider the theory of biorhythms (not to be confused with sleep cycles or other biological cycles that do have a scientific basis). The idea is that people’s physical, intellectual, and emotional abilities run in cycles that begin when they are born and continue until they die. The physical cycle has a period of 23 days, the intellectual cycle a period of 33 days, and the emotional cycle a period of 28 days.

       A set of beliefs or activities can be said to be pseudoscientific if (a) its adherents claim or imply that it is scientific but (b) it lacks one or more of the three features of science. It might lack systematic empiricism. Either there is no relevant scientific research or, as in the case of biorhythms, there is relevant scientific research but it is ignored. It might also lack public knowledge. People who promote beliefs or activities might claim to have conducted scientific research but never publish that research in a way that allows others to evaluate it.

 

Research and Scientific Method

       Research termed as “an inquiry into the nature of, the reasons for, and the consequences of any particular set of circumstances, whether these circumstances are experimentally controlled or recorded just as they occur. Further, research implies the researcher is interested in more than particular results; he is interested in the repeatability of the results and in their extension to more complicated and general situations.”

         On the other hand, the philosophy common to all research methods and techniques, although they may vary considerably from one science to another, is usually given the name of the scientific method. 

         In this context, Karl Pearson writes, “The scientific method is one and same in the branches (of science) and that method is the method of all logically trained minds … the unity of all sciences consists alone in its methods, not it’s material; the man who classifies facts of any kind whatever, who sees their mutual relation and describes their sequences, is applying the Scientific Method and is a man of science.”The scientific method is the pursuit of truth as determined by logical considerations. The idea of science is to achieve a systematic interrelation of facts. 

         The scientific method attempts to achieve “this ideal by experimentation, observation, logical arguments from accepted postulates and a combination of these three in varying proportions.”In the scientific method, logic aids in formulating propositions explicitly and accurately so that their possible alternatives become clear. All this is done through experimentation and survey investigations which constitute the integral parts of the scientific method.

          Experimentation is done to test hypotheses and to discover new relationships. If any, among variables. But the conclusions drawn on the basis of experimental data are generally criticized for either faulty assumptions, poorly designed experiments, badly executed experiments, or faulty interpretations. The purpose of survey investigations may also be to provide scientifically gathered information to work as a basis for the researchers for their conclusions.

     The scientific method is, thus, based on certain basic postulates which can be stated as under:

  1. It relies on empirical evidence;
  2. It utilizes relevant concepts;
  3. It is committed to only objective considerations;
  4. It presupposes ethical neutrality, i.e., it aims at nothing but making only adequate and correct statements about population objects;
  5. It results in probabilistic predictions;
  6. Its methodology is made known to all concerned for critical scrutiny are for use in testing the conclusions through replication;
  7. It aims at formulating most general axioms or what can be termed as scientific theories.

        Thus, “the scientific method encourages a rigorous, impersonal mode of procedure dictated by the demands of logic and objective procedure.” Accordingly, scientific method implies an objective, logical and systematic method, i.e., a method free from personal bias or prejudice, a method to ascertain demonstrable qualities of a phenomenon capable of being verified, a method wherein the researcher is guided by the rules of logical reasoning, a method wherein the investigation proceeds in an orderly manner and a method that implies internal consistency.

              Scientific research is often classified as being either basic or applied. 

1)Basic research in psychology is conducted primarily for the sake of achieving a more detailed and accurate understanding of human behavior, without necessarily trying to address any particular practical problem.

2)Applied research is conducted primarily to address some practical problem. Research on the effects of cell phone use on driving, for example, was prompted by safety concerns and has led to the enactment of laws to limit this practice.

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