Scientific findings are discovered through research conducted using the scientific method. The scientific method involves a number of steps, including observation, asking a question, hypothesizing, predicting and testing.
Science begins through observation. A phenomenon is observed, which causes the observer to ask a question. After a question has been refined, a hypothesis, or an educated guess, is formed. Hypotheses aim to predict an answer based on background research. Researchers often formulate multiple hypotheses that attempt to identify the cause of the observed phenomenon. Hypotheses are testable guesses that may be proven wrong through experimentation.
After hypotheses are formulated, a tester attempts to predict the outcome of the experiment. Testing is performed following the prediction phase. It involves dividing the subjects being tested into two groups: an experimental group and a control group. A control group is a group that does not receive the experimentation. It is used to gather information on the normal state of a group for use in comparison to the group facing experimentation. The experimental group is the group that is being manipulated in the experiment. It tests the hypotheses by introducing a variable in order to answer the original question. Replicating an experiment is important in order to add validity to the results.