The Scientific Method & Principles Not Formally Recognized

I am no expert of the scientific method, but this is not the first time that I have read up on it. I guess the first thing that I find interesting concerning the scientific method is that there really isn’t one, universal approach. The multiple accepted breakdowns of the scientific are all very similar though, understandably, so I guess the fact there is no universal scientific method is not that profound. I just think that it is worth noting considering that it is the primary form of data gathering.

I found the case study pretty fascinating not because of the actual case (although that was pretty cool) but because of the five principles not formally recognized by scientific methods as described by B.F. Skinner. My experience with the scientific method approach is that it is a tool implemented for specific purposes to attain specific information. While this holds true for specific experiments, it is interesting to think about it in a more general way. Skinner’s case study helped to humanize the scientific method for me. People apply the scientific method everyday. We analyze situations, predict what would happen given different paths of action, we reason, and then we act and find out if we were right or wrong. The five principles not formally recognized as described by Skinner are just as important as the accepted principles. These are important mostly because it humanizes the scientific method. Although experiments and samples are all about control, (as is society in general), there is no perfect anything. All people are flawed, and therefore, all things that people do have an element of flaw to it.

2 responses to “The Scientific Method & Principles Not Formally Recognized

  1. I agree that the issue of human fallibility plays an important part in the practicality of the scientific method, especially within the subject matter addressed in the field of research within the social sciences. Throughout this reading and others, I’ve often found myself wondering just how accurate data detailing human actions/emotions can be, especially if that data is self-reported. The readings on the scientific method have reassured those doubts, as I now realize just how thoroughly rigid the rules of social science research are.

  2. Anthony, you raise an interesting point about the influence of human fallibility within the execution of the scientific method. In learning about the scientific method throughout my academic career, I never thought about the human element inherent to the process. It can be easy to fall prey to the notion that because something is “scientific” or verified by a process that has been used successfully for many years that it is a verity. Take the discussions that we had about the hidden subjective nature of statistics and the way that numbers and data can be manipulated, for example. Much like the class discussions we held about How to Lie With Statistics, your comment has made me question the authority of scientific processes in general due to the salient human element of fallibility.

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