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What is the scientific method? It is a process used to find answers to questions about the world around us. It begins with a question that comes from observation and is answered through an organized method of conducting and analyzing an experiment. (Mularella, 2007) In this hypothetical example, I would like to explore the answer to the following question: Can K-gro brand fertilizer increase tomato crop yields by up to 50%? First, this question must have originated through observation. I have noticed that my neighbor’s plants are producing much more fruit than mine, and I wondered why.
Upon investigating, I discovered that one of the only differences in our gardening techniques is the use of different fertilizers. All other factors are the same. Our soil, weather conditions and daylight do not vary.
Therefore, it is my hypothesis, or educated guess, that it is our fertilizers that are producing the difference in our crops. I predict, or foresee the outcome of my investigation to be that my neighbor’s use of K-gro brand fertilizer results in this abundance of tomatoes that is nearly twice that of my plants.
Now for the fun part, I will perform an experiment or test, to either prove or disprove my theory or hypothesis. I will set up three groups of tomato plants. All of them being the same age and brand of tomato. The growing medium and environment for the plants will all be the same. The only difference will be the type of fertilizer used on each group.
Group A will receive K-gro brand, group B will receive my normal brand of fertilizer and Group C will not receive any fertilizer. This will be my control group. By keeping all conditions, except for the type of fertilizer, the same I am also creating a controlled environment. Therefore, this will eliminate the possibility of other factor to influence the tomato growth. The next phase of my experiment will be the results. This is the end of my experiment where I determine whether or not my hypothesis is supported. I measure the amount of fruit produced in each group of plants and compare the results among the groups.
This is considered to be analyzing the data. If group A has produced more fruit that Group B and C, than I can say that my hypothesis is supported. That is, if the yield was twice that of the other groups. Otherwise, my original hypothesis will be unsupported. In either case, my end result will be my conclusion. There is no right or wrong answer. If the result is not what I had expected, it still may assist someone else in further studying the effects of this fertilizer. By communicating my results, I may interest others in pursuing these questions which will then lead right back to step one! (w/c 471) Scientific Method – The Seven Step Process to Scientific Investigations, Mularella, Jeremy, August 22, 2007, retrieved from: www.slideshare.net/mrmlarella/scientific-method-95777
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