What Are the Steps of the Scientific Method?

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The five basic steps of the scientific method are: make observations, propose a hypothesis, design and perform an experiment to test the hypothesis, analyze the data to see if it supports the hypothesis and, if necessary, propose and test a new hypothesis based on these findings. The scientific method is the basic set of actions that scientists use to make new discoveries and prove theories correct or incorrect.

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. Hypotheses are compiled and used to support theories, which are more generalized explanations of the world and nature. A hypothesis that is supported by many successful experiments may become accepted as a theory, but a theory may be latter discounted due to differing results in later experiments. It is possible to disprove even the physical laws of the universe, although far less likely due to overwhelming evidence supporting them.

The scientific process is used constantly in every scientific field, creating the information commonly accepted today. Scientific discovery requires asking questions and making guesses about the world and then testing these ideas with physical experiments that prove or disprove them, so without the scientific method, the best information anyone can come up with can only be considered a guess or an untested hypothesis.