Glossary term: Scientific Method

Description: Often inaccurately portrayed as a linear process, in reality the scientific method is dynamic, and layered. There is no universal or fixed scientific method, and the methods that scientists use to explore the physical world vary. Key aspects of a scientific approach include the importance and requirement of empirical data to support theories, and that the results should be reproducible and checked by other researchers. Scientific method encompasses a range of methodological approaches underpinned by philosophical principles, and may have some defining characteristics like experimentation, systematic observation, or evidence-based explanations, but is not limited to these. There is no single, universal way of doing science, and the aims of the research guide the method. Nature is complex, and one universal method of inquiry will not be able to adequately unravel its mysteries.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".