As a process, certain rules must be followed, but there is NO one “scientific method”, contrary to its popular treatment in textbooks.
The rules of science are intended to make the process as objective as is humanly possible, and thereby produce a degree of understanding that is as close to reality as possible.
Modern science is based upon several underlying assumptions:
1. The world is real. The physical universe exists, whether we can sense it or not. In other words, it is not just our imagination.
2. Humans can accurately perceive and understand the physical universe. In other words, such understanding is possible.
3. Natural processes are sufficient to explain the natural world; non-natural processes are unnecessary.
4. Nature operates the same way everywhere in the universe, and at all times, except where we have contrary evidence.
The common method used by scientists all over the world can be outlined as:
- Observation of a phenomenon
- A tentative decription or answer (hypothesis)
- Predictions based on hypothesis
- Testing of predictions by further observations or experiments
- Repeating steps 2,3, and 4 until there are no discrepancies between observations-experiments and predictions.