The classic scientific method can be modified in many ways, specifically due to the fact that we scientists have more tools and technologies available in the present day. The stereotypical scientific method is straightforward: an observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion. In real life, scientific research involves many different paths, especially for geoscientists. Therefore, I propose a modern scientific method that encompasses these different paths. I will detail this modified scientific method by comparing its differences with the classic scientific method.
The classic scientific method is straightforward because it is a series of steps that must always proceed in the same order. However, my modified version would allow the scientist to incorporate only the parts of the method that they deem necessary. They can proceed in any order they please, and can use the steps they need and omit the steps they don’t need. Comparison, experimentation, and modeling are good examples of how scientists can use this modified method. Using comparison allows scientists to make observations and hypothesis with things outside of their singular experiment. One example of comparison is change over time. Kastens and Rivet detail this in “Multiple Modes of Inquiry in Earth Science” They mentioned how geologists compared chemical, physical, and biological aspects of modern rock with ancient rock to determine characteristics of the ancient world. This part of my modified scientific method gives an advantage over the classical one because it goes beyond a sequence of steps. It takes the premise that the natural processes of the present operated the same as they did in the past, and applied to to an ongoing process (pillow basalts) to learn more about something else outside of the main observation. The geologists did going about in a linear fashion. In the classic method, the only analysis would have been about the modern rock. This comparison gives my modified scientific method an advantage because it does not always proceed linearly.
The next example of the modified method is through experimentation. Experimentation allows geologists to determine the relationship between multiple variables by manipulating at least one of them. In “The Practice of Science: An Introduction to Research Methods”, by Carpi and Egger, they detail how Lois Pasteur used experimentation to disprove spontaneous generation. Pasteur didn’t follow the linear path of the scientific method. Instead of creating a hypothesis, he set out to disprove one. By deviating from the classic method, he was able to advance the way other scientists would view the world in the future.
Another way scientists go beyond the classic scientific method is through modeling. Both physical and computer models act as as new way scientists and geologists can research. Modeling fits in my modified version of the scientific method for one main reason. Geologists must analyze how their results from the model fit into or explain what happens in the real world.
In conclusion, scientists do many things to research the earth that are not linear, but in fact are quite the opposite. What allowed the scientists to achieve these things was to take an approach that best solved their problem, rather than try to stay exactly with the classic scientific method. This is why I believe that modifying the scientific method so that it allows them to pick and choose what they want to do is beneficial.
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