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Leaving Cert Biology Revision: Scientific Method

Scientific Method

The scientific method is a systematic approach scientists used to investigate phenomena, acquire new knowledge, and refine existing theories.

It involves several steps:

1. Observation

Scientists observe natural phenomena or gather data through experiments.

2. Question Formulation

Scientists formulate questions, or hypotheses to explain the observed phenomena based on observations.

3. Hypothesis Testing

Scientists design experiments to test their hypotheses. These experiments must be repeatable and controlled to

ensure reliability.

4. Data Collection

During experiments, scientists collect data and observations.

5. Analysis

Scientists analyze the collected data to conclude. They may use statistical methods to determine the significance of their results.

6. Communication

Scientists communicate their findings through publications, presentations, and discussions with peers, allowing others to replicate their experiments and verify their results.

Limitations in Scientific Method


Biases, personal opinions, or preconceived notions of researchers may influence the scientific method.

Incomplete Knowledge

Scientific understanding is always evolving, and discoveries may challenge or revise existing theories.

Ethical Considerations

Some experiments may raise ethical concerns, such as those involving human subjects or animals.

Resource Constraints

Limitations in funding, equipment, or time may restrict the scope or feasibility of scientific investigations.

Complexity of Nature

Natural phenomena can be complex and multifaceted, making it difficult to isolate variables or predict outcomes accurately.

Principles of Experimentation

Controlled Variables

Experiments should control all variables except the one being tested to ensure that any observed effects are because of the manipulated variable.


Experiments should be repeatable by other researchers to verify the results and ensure their reliability.


Random assignment of subjects or samples helps minimize bias and ensures that the experimental and control groups are comparable.

Sample Size

Larger sample sizes increase the reliability and generalizability of experimental results by reducing the impact of random variation.


Blinding techniques, such as single-blind or double-blind studies, prevent bias by concealing information about the experimental conditions from participants or researchers.

Peer Review

Before publication, scientific findings undergo peer review by experts in the field to evaluate their validity, reliability, and significance.

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