Aristotle’s scientific research followed several consistent steps. It was his version of the scientific method.
His approach consisted of the following:
- He determined the subject matter of the investigation and stated the problem to be solved.
- He described traditional solutions to the problem.
- He presented his doubts about these solutions.
- He presented his own solution, supported by his reasoning and evidence.
- He refuted the solutions previously proposed.
The weak part of Aristotle’s method is that he relied more on deduction than experiments to prove his ideas.
One of the reasons for this was that the scientific tools to conduct experiments had not been invented yet. His powers of observation were so strong, however, that many of his deductions proved to be correct.
As science developed over the centuries, improved scientific tools meant more accurate measurements could be taken.
Scientists started using the discoveries of previous experiments to search for more scientific truths.
A modern scientific method evolved. It includes the following steps:
- Observe–using the senses to learn about an object or event.
- Collect data—gathering all pertinent information, like the results of previous experiments.
- Ask questions—clarifying exactly what is intended to be learned from the experiment.
- Hypothesize—asserting a hypothesis, a conclusion that can be tested with observation
- Experiment—using variables, or different aspects of the experiment that can be changed, to confirm results.
- Collect data again—seeing if the results support the hypothesis or not.
- Share results—aiding other scientists in their experiments.