Monday, 1 July 2013

Scientific and Engineering Methods

Scientific Method
The scientific method is a process of experimentation that is used to explore observations and answer questions. Scientists use this scientific method to search for cause and effect relationships in nature.

Step 1: Make observations and state questions. Observe things around us and surface out things that we are curious about.

Step 2: Propose a hypothesis. Make a prediction to what the end results of the conclusion will be like.

Step 3: Design an experiment to test the hypothesis. Do background research on the topic to have a further understanding. Create an experiment to test your factor. It is important to have all factors kept constant, except for the factor that we are experimenting on, to ensure a fair test and produce reliable results.

Step 4: Analyse results to show if hypothesis is accurate. Repeat the tests a few times and get the average to ensure reliability of the results. Collect data from the experiment for a period of time and arrange them into graphs to observe the data easily.

Step 5: Draw conclusion. From the results, derive a conclusion to the experiment. Whether our hypothesis is correct, and if it is not, what should we have actually consider. Do a reflection to whether the experiment is reliable, any assumptions made, could have the project be done deeper.

Engineering Method
It is a set of steps that a designer follows to build something.

Step 1: Define the problem. Gather ideas and think of what things can we build to help solve or improve a problem.

Step 2: Do background research. Reading people's works and learning from their experiences, so that we will have some knowledge on what to do and what not.

Step 3: Specify requirements. State the important parts of our design, find out the design requirements.

Step 4: Create alternative solution. Generate many ideas to form possible solutions, so that if one does not work, we can consider the others.

Step 5: Choose the best solution. According to the design requirements, purpose and context, find out which is the most feasible solution to solve the problem.

Step 6: Develop the best solution. Evaluate the pros and cons of the chosen solution. Continue to further improve the solution.

Step 7: Build a Prototype. It is an operating and smaller scale version of the actual solution. It is to let us know how well the solution is able to work.

Step 8: Test and redesign. Based on the prototype, find out other problems and solve it to further improve the solution.

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