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The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to test the hypothesis, and development of a conclusion that confirms, rejects, or modifies the hypothesis.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
scientific methodthe way of approaching a problem by drawing up a hypothesis based on a series of observations, and then testing the hypothesis by means of experiments designed in such a way as to support or invalidate the hypothesis. On the basis of the experimental evidence a theory is proposed to account for the initial observations. If subsequently the theory is found to be wanting in some respect, new hypotheses are sought and tested experimentally, so the process is a successive refinement which in science never leads to an absolute truth, but to a more reliable knowledge.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005