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 Niño 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.

Flowchart of the scientific method, divided into three consecutive stages: planning, experimentation, and analysis. Planning begins with making an observation and proceeds with asking a question, doing background research, and formulating a hypothesis.Next is the experimentation phase. In it, the hypothesis is tested with an experiment. If the experimental procedure doesn't work, there might be an extra troubleshooting step. If it does work, we proceed to the analysis stage.Finally, in the analysis step, data is analyzed, conclusions are drawn, and results are contrasted with the initial hypothesis. In case of discrepancies, a hypothesis is formulated on the source of the discrepancy. In both cases, the results are communicated.

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.