The Scientific Method and Designing an Experiment

This lesson introduces the idea of experimental design and the factors one must consider to build a successful experiment.

Scientific Reasoning

When conducting scientific research, two types of scientific reasoning can be used to address scientific problems: inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. Both forms of reasoning are also used to generate a hypothesis. 

Inductive reasoning involves drawing a general conclusion from specific observations. This form of reasoning is referred to as the “from the bottom up” approach. Information gathered from specific observations can be used to make a general conclusion about the topic under investigation. In other words, conclusions are based on observed patterns in data.

Deductive reasoning is the logical approach of making a prediction about a general principle to draw a specific conclusion. It is recognized as the “from the top down” approach. For example, deductive reasoning is used to test a theory by collecting data that challenges the theory.

For Example
Use your inductive reasoning to determine the next item in the sequence of events:
1. fall, winter, spring . . .
2. 4, 8, 12 . . .

Did You Know?

While Francis Bacon was developing the scientific method, he advocated for the use of inductive reasoning. This is why inductive reasoning is considered to be at the heart of the scientific method.

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