II.3. Steps of the scientific method
Within the three basic types of scientific method (inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, and hypothesis testing or experimental study) each one has its own steps or stages and depends more or less on each author or form of describing and presenting them.
In the previous section I have presented some criticisms while speaking about some elements of reasoning in the scientific methodology and the complication that its terminology poses for the memory. Now then, when speaking about the steps of the scientific method something similar occurs once again: more than steps of the scientific method, each method has its own staircase.
In recognition of the fact that the topic of the methodology of science is very complex and full of nuances with serious implications, and given the importance of the scientific method, I am going to undertake the task of making my own classification of the stages, the basic scientific methods, and their elements in an attempt to simplify it for non-experts or laymen.
There is no doubt that this tree of science would have leaves of all shapes and colors. Let us look at some comments and clarifications about this tree.
From this perspective, although the element perception does not function equally in the different proposed methods, nor does it represent an essential difference of the same ones; moreover, to a greater or lesser extent it will be present in the first step of planning.
Secondly, I think that the stages of the methodology of science reflect the importance of the phases through which a scientific theory passes until becoming generally accepted and goes on to make up part of the scientific knowledge.
In spite of this, it is worth noting that I have divided the essence of the experimental study or hypothesis testing of the two other basic methods by placing them into different stages. Galileo had mentioned this division, and, actually, there are only two: the deductive reasoning and the inductive reasoning; and two processes: the hypothesis testing and the rational. I agree with Galileo, although I prefer to refer to them as logic and intuition respectively, which is in line with the importance of the different mental elements or processes that support them and the reliability associated with the mentioned processes.
The tree of scientific knowledge would consist of the following:
I have also added the creativity method because it uses elements of the intellectual capacities that clearly differ from logic and intuition.
Even a theory based on the deductive reasoning should pass the validation stage since it can be refuted by some logical contradiction on the basis of the planning or an error in the applied logic.
The intuitive reasoning comes closer to the logic reasoning or logic-deductive reasoning when intuition functions with very high reliability; in this case, it would be the equivalent to the classic inductive reasoning. On the contrary, when reliability is lower, it would be more similar to the experimental study or classic hypothesis testing due to both of them appearing a little like a system of trial and error.
The three steps of the scientific method that form the first stage of the methodology of science presentation are: planning, reasoning, and conclusion, which are common to the three proposed methods, and the main difference of these steps is situated in the elements of reasoning regarding the type of employed arguments.
The novelty here is the proposition of the new scientific method Salto or Jump, or that of creativity which does not have its base in logic or in intuition but rather in the absence of them, or even in deliberately leading them to the contrary. When the intuitive reasoning functions with low reliability, we begin to come close to the Salto or Jump method. It is a method that the popular knowledge knows very well, and sums it up in the phrase: think the worst and you won’t be far wrong.
The classifications of the second step of the scientific method, the elements of reasoning, are almost never simple or perfect because the words tend to have various meanings, and, at times, are too broad or too strict. For example, sometimes creativity leads to a very strong built-in logic, and then we would find ourselves outside of the Jump method. Other times, creativity is so removed from logic that it is actually madness, or simply deals with an expression of love. For these reasons I like the term for the Jump method even though it is much more technical to call it the creativity method.
It could also be called the madness or love method because it can be the cause of its use. Sometimes we can imagine that something is the contrary of what it seems, although almost impossible, and the argument can be repeated. Logically, the reliability of the conclusion will be very poor, but at times an interesting surprise can result: the conclusion is confirmed contrary to what was expected.
Then, in view of the positive verification, we find a different way than what was followed in order to be able to verify the theory; for example with the logical or intuitive reasoning, but the importance of this scientific method or originality has been the first step to reaching a conclusion. The second way would only be a tool for preparing the hypothesis testing of the validation stage of the proposed scientific theory.