According to the scientific method, one must first formulate a question and then do background research before it is possible to make a hypothesis. The scientific method, of which the hypothesis is a key component, has long been used by scientists to ensure unbiased, trustworthy results. The value of the whole experiment itself rides on whether the results support or refute the hypothesis.
The scientific method can be broken down into six distinct steps. First, a scientist forms a question regarding certain phenomena, then he researches what has already been discovered on the subject. For example, he might wonder if carbon dioxide is lighter or heavier than the mix of gas molecules found in air. Before he comes up with a hypothesis, he has to research what other scientists had already discovered about carbon dioxide. The third step in the scientific method is the formation of a hypothesis – the scientist makes a statement about the behavior of carbon dioxide based on what he had researched. Next, he constructs an experiment to test this statement, taking care to ensure the validity of the results by only changing one variable. The fifth step is analyzing the data and forming a conclusion, with reference to the hypothesis. The final step is sharing the results with the scientific community, which the scientist might do by publishing his findings in a scholarly journal.