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Updated January 4, 2023

Six General Steps of a Scientific Inquiry

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Six General Steps of a Scientific Inquiry essay
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Scientific inquiry has six general steps that are taken in order to come to a conclusion about some idea or problem that was identified. These steps are: defining the problem, collecting the data, organizing said data, identifying a pattern within the data, understanding the data and then coming to a conclusion. Although this method is popular and used frequently within the scientific community, it is rejected in social science for the fact that it is considered backwards to how the process is actually carried out. The creation and formation of the hypothesis is what gives the direction to the research. Defining the problem should be the result of hypothesis implication, the operationalization of the hypothesis, which is done by taking concepts and operationalizing them into variables.

Induction is the form of an argument in which, if the premise is true, the conclusion may or may not be true. Therefore the law that connects the premise to the conclusion is a probabilistic law. In other words, inductive reasoning makes generalizations from particular observations. Deduction is the form of an argument in which if the premise is true, the conclusion is always true. Therefore, the law that connects the premise to the conclusion is the universal law. Or, a hypothesis is made, then it is tested. Scientific inquiry is both inductive and deductive. The relationship between the hypothesis and the implication is deductive, since the concepts are first indicated and then they are operationalized, whereas the rest of the process in inductive.

Using the Dr. Semmelweis experience as an example, Dr. Semmelweis noted that more patients were dying in Ward 1 than in Ward 2. With this observation, he began to experiment with the cause for the increase in deaths. After three years of testing, and multiple failed hypotheses, Dr. Semmelweis found there were different sets of interns working in the Wards, one set checked on the patients directly after leaving the morgue, whereas the others did not. In this situation, he concluded that a given hypothesis as an infinite number of implications to test, confirming the fact that scientific inquiry is both deductive and inductive. Without spending three years discovering what the cause was, and only testing his first hypothesis of the atmospheric-telluric condition, which was wrong, Dr. Semmelweis would have been using modus tollens, which is the valid rejection of a hypothesis. On the other hand, if his first hypothesis was the different interns had a role in the number of deaths, then he would have found the fallacy of affirming the consequent, which proves that the hypothesis was correct.

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Six General Steps of a Scientific Inquiry. (2023, Jan 04). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/six-general-steps-of-a-scientific-inquiry/

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