1.13 The Scientific Method

The basis of what we know about nutrition is derived from research and the scientific method underlies how research is conducted. The following figure shows the steps in the scientific method.
A flow chart beginning with Research Question progressing to Hypothesis, then to Experiment, then Results/Draw Conclusions. The chart then shows two options after results: first, Hypothesis supported, and second, hypothesis not supported. From Hypothesis Not Supported, an arrow shows that the process should then start again from Research Question or Hypothesis. Both Hypothesis Supported and Not supported then progress to the final step: Report Results.

Figure 1.131 The scientific method

Steps in the Scientific Method

1. The first step is to come up with a scientific or research question that you are interested in investigating.

2. Based on your research question, a hypothesis or an educated guess is formulated.

3. The next step is to design and conduct the experiment. A good design should take into account what has been done previously. Thus, a thorough review of methods and results published previously should be undertaken. This will help prevent making the same mistakes and save a lot of time conducting the research.

4. Perform the experiment/research and collect results and draw conclusions.

5. If the hypothesis is not supported, then a new hypothesis/research question should be created and a new experiment be conducted.

6. Ultimately, researchers hope to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals.

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