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The Scientific Method Isn’t What it Used to Be Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2019

The Scientific Method Isn’t What It Used to Be (Herreid, 2010)

This case study aims at explaining how science has changed over time. It tries to show how scientific method has changed from the time when it was a five-step procedure that included asking question, formulation of hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, data collection and making conclusions.

According to the case study, some colleagues from University at California have established a website () that facilitates the understanding of science. The main key themes include science in a nutshell, what is science, scientific evidence, how science works among others.

According to the case study, the site describes science concerns in the following issues:

  1. Science aims at explaining the natural world
  2. It uses testable ideas
  3. It depends on evidence
  4. It involves the scientific community
  5. It leads to the continuing research and society benefits

The site provides a comparison of Rutherford’s argument about the nature of the atoms and the claims of astrology and intelligent design. It is evident that astrology and ID do not show the scientific ideals. For instance, ID doesn’t focus on explaining the natural world and its ideas cannot be verified. The ID proponents also don’t allow modification of the ideas in response to investigation by the scientific society. This implies that this is not science that that we are applying.

The site also provides the limitation of science as follows

  • It doesn’t make moral judgments
  • It doesn’t have aesthetic judgment
  • It doesn’t explain the procedure of using scientific knowledge
  • It doesn’t make conclusions concerning supernatural phenomena

The site provides a basis to average citizens for approaching the hearsays of science when they are not sure of what to believe.

How science works

Berkeley website model indicates that science is a non-linear process. The hypothetical procedure is not sophisticated and may result into critical misconception as provided by the website;

  • Science is complete, it involves gathering facts and a single scientific method to be used by scientists
  • Scientific process involves analysis using either deductive or inductive reasoning or not creativity.
  • The most crucial part of the process is experiment.
  • The ideas of science are absolute, dynamic, tentative, untrustworthy, verifiable, and judgmental and can only be proved or disapproved by science.
  • Science is pure and is independent from other ideas and scientists being purely objective in their analysis of the ideas.
  • Science contradicts the existence of creator and it is solitary in pursuit.

The Berkeley model

The Berkeley model

The diagram above shows intersection of spheres which includes Exploration and Discovery, community Analysis and Feedback, testing ideas, Benefits and Outcomes. The procedure for scientific process in the tradition scientific methods involved two of the spheres. These are Exploration and Discovery and testing ideas. Scientific process involves more than just the above two spheres as shown in the diagram.

The Large-scale Structure of Scientific Method (Kosso, 2009)

The scientific knowledge needs more than just learning many facts, unlike linguistic knowledge which needs more than knowing a lot of words. The framework of scientific method which involves crucial elements such as hypothesis, theories, predictions, and evidence integrated together, is a major part of the nature of science.

Textbooks focus on explaining the facts clearly, and narrowly ponder on the relationship that exists between facts. These books establish scientific process by enumerating some elements without giving an account of how these elements interrelate with each other, and how the process and standards are employed by scientists. The grammar of scientific knowledge has not been included.

Science textbooks provide a basis of scientific process and standards explaining the individual component with no clear paradigm. The textbooks have continuingly disregarded the large-scale structure leading to missing an important nature of science.

Textbook Misrepresentations

The important elements of science such as hypothesis, prediction, observation and theories are identified by name and explained by definition and role. This usually appears at the beginning of the book which describes science and differentiates it with the account of nature.

The textbook provides an explicit explanation of the nature of science which is somehow standard. Separating a given case is not required in order to obtain a general idea of what science is taught to students. The scientific process is illustrated as the evolution of a single idea. Hypothesis is obtained from observation, and provided as a description of a given phenomenon. The hypothesis is then tested and verified. If the experiment shows that the prediction is correct, then it implies that the hypothesis is supported.

The Global structure

The textbooks can be done by adding crucial missing parts and the integration of the structure. In other words, it implies establishing a clear image of the global structure that represents the nature of science. The outcomes will show a representation of the model of science which is more accurate model and presents a clearer image of what is science.

Statistics Anxiety: Antecedents and Instructional Interventions (Dykeman, 2010)

This study was conducted to investigate the differences present in the course anxieties stages and students self-efficacy in the courses they choose in statistics. The study also investigated the variation in the distribution of results on attitude, self-reported readiness and what is expected of statistics students in terms of success on the basis of previous statistical course work.

The statistics anxiety was described as the one that happens when students face statistics in any stage. This shows that the Anxiety can have influence on students, and it can be identified through psychological, behavioral and physiological expressions.


The study adapted Achievement anxiety scales to evaluate the anxiety and self-Efficacy scale to evaluate the views about efficacy to perform well in class. The study involved 57 students enrolled to pursue professional degree, 37 admitted to take statistics courses and other 20 students from other education courses.

The study also made comparison between students taking university courses and those taking education classes that deal with measurement of anxiety and academic self-efficacy. The study adopted SPSS data analysis to perform a two-tailed test of significance on independent groups. The results obtained show more debilitative anxiety with a t-test of 2.155 with less academic self-efficacy compared to other education students.

The results of the study also show that the measure of facilitative anxiety was insignificant to both the statistics and non-statistics students. A multivariate SPSS data analysis shows that there was a significant variation on the measures carried out at the same time on some variables such as attitude, anxiety among others. Students who had taken a previous course work in statistics, showed almost the same result with those who had previously taken a course work on the measure of attitude.


Dykeman, B. F. (2010). Statistics Anxiery:Antecedents and Instructional Interventions. Education Vol. 132 No. 2 , 441-446.

Herreid, C. F. (2010). The Scientific Method Ain’t What It Used to Be. Journal of College Science Teaching July 2010 , 68-72.

Kosso, P. (2009). The Large-scale Structure of ScientiWc Method. Sci & Educ (2009) 18:33–42 , 33-42.

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