Flow charts can help simplify complicated processes.
According to Biology Online, the scientific method can be defined as “a series of steps that evaluates the veracity or the feasibility of a prediction through research and experimentation from where the information obtained will be used as a basis in making conclusions.” It is a systematic approach for defining and exploring the many questions science can present. Once these steps are identified and understood, creating a flow chart that illustrates the scientific method becomes possible. The flow chart can be created on the computer using various software programs or simply drawn by hand.
1. A flow chart which illustrates the scientific method can be organized in six descending tiers. Each tier consists of a specific step of the scientific method and will include a brief description of that step.
2. “Question” Tier: The first (top) tier of the flow chart represents the “questioning” step of the scientific method. The question arises from asking how, what, when, who, why, which, or where in relation to an observed event.
3. “Research” Tier: Once a question has been identified, the next step in the scientific method is to perform background research on the subject matter. Gathering as much information as possible leads to the development of a viable hypothesis.
4. “Hypothesis” Tier: A hypothesis is a rational, logical, and educated guess to the answer of the original question. The hypothesis must be constructed in a way that it can be measured and demonstrated.
5. “Experimentation” Tier: In this step of the scientific method, the hypothesis is tested. To ensure the data collected will be reliable, special care is taken to design an experiment that will utilize necessary controls. The results of the experiment will either verify or contradict the hypothesis.
6. “Analysis” Tier: The data generated in the experimental stage are collected, organized, and analyzed. In most cases, numerical data are graphed to provide a visual representation of the experiments’ results.
7. “Conclusion” Tier: In the sixth and final tier, a conclusion is drawn based on the data analysis as to whether or not the hypothesis is true. Note that even in cases where a hypothesis is proven false via the scientific method, important information is always gained and a new hypothesis can be developed that incorporates this new information.
8. “Cycle Continues” Diagram: In cases in which the hypothesis was shown to be false, the scientific method continues by going back up to the third tier where a new hypothesis is constructed and the subsequent steps are then adapted and repeated. This can be illustrated on your flow chart by drawing arrows from the conclusion of a false hypothesis back up to the hypothesizing step, thereby indicating the cycle.