The scientific method is a framework used to accurately describe the world.

Humans have always strived to explain natural phenomena. Historically, explanations of the natural world have been provided by legends and myths. For example, the lack of rain during an El NiƱo year was accredited to angry gods who demanded offerings.

In contrast with dogmatic world views, such as religious explanations, the scientific method is a continuous process. The scientific method consists of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.

The scientific method can be visualized by the following flow chart.

A diagram of the scientific process. Steps in the process are connected by arrows that indicate the order of the steps, and the process is split into three phases: planning, experimentation, and analysis. The first step in the planning phase of the process is make an observation. An arrow points to ask a question. A double sided arrow goes between ask a question and do background research, the next step. Then an arrow points to construct a hypothesis. After that, an arrow leads to the first step of the experimentation phase, test with an experiment. An arrow points to is the procedure working? There are two options afterwards, if no is selected, the next step is troubleshoot, then return to test with an experiment. If yes, then an arrow leads to the first step in the analysis phase, analyse data and draw conclusions. An arrow points to the next step: do the results align with the hypothesis? There are options for no and yes, which both have arrows leading to the final step, communicate results. The option for no has a second arrow that leads back to construct a hypothesis.

Figure 1. Flow chart

Note that not all of these steps take place in every scientific inquiry and the order of the steps may be different in certain cases.