STEP #2:
THE PROBLEM

After an observation has been made, the next step is to ask a question about that observation. A scientific question may begin with what, when, where, how much, what is the cause. What drives people to ask questions is curiosity. Most people become curious when some unusual event occurs, but too many fail to ask questions about that event; everyone who has normal vision has seen unsupported objects fall to the ground or clouds form and move across the sky. But how many ask what causes these things to occur? Far too many people take these things for granted and for them the world simply goes around, no questions asked.

But for the curious, it is not enough only to observe. There is a thirst for explanations. Unfortunately for these question-askers, other people may find them irritating and attempt to ridicule their questions. But question-askers often turn out to be our best scientists, some who make the greatest advances in our civilization.

Anyone can ask questions. However, good questioning, like good observing, takes skill and insight. To be scientifically valuable a good question must be relevant and testable. Sometimes it is difficult to know if a question is relevant, but it is better to ask than to simply accept without questioning. If the question turns out to be irrelevant, then new and better questions may be asked in the future.

One troublesome question to ask in science is "Why?". "Why does the universe exists?" is untestable and falls outside the realm of science. Another example would be "Why are there more trees on slope A than on slope B? It would be better to ask "What causes more trees to grow on slope A than on slope B." Because the word "Why?" is so ambiguous, it should be avoided in scientific questions.

 

Step #3: THE HYPOTHESES

 

PROCEDURES OF SCIENCE