The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis.
An orderly technique of investigation that is supposed to account for scientific progress. The method consists of the following steps: (1) Careful observations of nature. (2) Deduction of natural laws. (3) Formation of hypotheses — generalizations of those laws to previously unobserved phenomena. (4) Experimental or observational testing of the validity of the predictions thus made. Actually, scientific discoveries rarely occur in this idealized, wholly rational, and orderly fashion.