The Scientific Method

As a part of the overall empirical process that psychologists use when conducting research, whether they are using true experiments or another type of research method, researchers follow the five basic steps of the scientific method. The scientific method is a set of procedures used by researchers to create questions, gather data, and arrive at conclusions. Briefly put, these steps are:

  • Formulate a testable hypothesis. A hypothesis is basically an educated guess about the possible relationship between two or more variables.

  • Design a study and collect the data. In this step, psychologists decide which research methods they will use to conduct their experiment. Next, they will collect the data by performing the experiment or study.

  • Analyze the data and arrive at conclusions. After all of the data has been collected from the study participants, it is time to evaluate the findings and determine what the results mean.

  • Share the findings with the scientific community. Research is often shared by writing up the results in an article format and publishing the findings in a professional psychology journal. By sharing the knowledge gained from the study, researchers add one more piece of valuable information to what psychologists know about a particular topic.

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