You can use scientific methods to get answers, as well as to define and organize an investigation. As a means of cognition, scientific methods reflect the subject of your research. In methodology, scientific methods can be empirical or theoretical.
On the one hand, you can use empirical methods to
- discover and collect data and facts
- as a basis to prove a hypothesis
- answer scientific questions
- to have a basis to discuss something
- to follow a professional guide
However, certain methods are not deep enough to really delve into the essential relationships seen in educational processes.
The rational methods allow you to systematize and analyze the results obtained with an empirical method. So these scientific methods can help you to draw conclusions about a scientific problem. Empirical methods can give you clues to work out theories, while using rational methods.
The Different Types of Scientific Methods
Rational methods are classified according to how you use them during an investigation. We will discuss some of them below.
The analytical synthetic method refers to the analysis and synthesis processes. An analysis is a logical process that helps you mentally explain a whole and its qualities, its many relationships, properties and components.
The synthesis process, on the other hand, produces a combination of the previously analyzed parts. This allows you to discover the general relationships and characteristics between the elements of the subject.
The analysis and synthesis processes work as a dialectical unit. During the investigation, one can dominate the other depending on where you are in your investigation. Also use this method to find and process information.
This method mainly represents two opposing processes: induction and deduction. The induction process is based on the data of certain cases, but also on the broader knowledge. This knowledge reflects what these cases have in common.
The basis for the deduction process is the replication of facts and phenomena in reality. The English philosopher Francis Bacon was the first to propose induction as a research method. Bacon said that if you want to gain knowledge, you have to observe nature. You have to collect data and make generalizations from it.
Today this process is called inductive reasoning and it follows the following steps:
Induction and deduction therefore complement each other. Induction allows you to establish generalizations of what your case studies have in common. Then, based on these generalizations, you draw a number of logical conclusions. By means of induction, these conclusions are enriched generalizations, which form a didactic unit.
The hypothetical-deductive method starts with hypotheses. These are based on principles or laws, or have been established on the basis of empirical data. By applying deduction techniques you thus achieve predictions that you can verify by means of empirical verification. We see this method, for example, in clinical diagnoses.
To discover the essence of things, logic needs history. Somehow this method allows you to describe the facts through their logical development. You can use this method to research the background information of the scientific problem.
The genetic method
This method is used when you study the evolution of an object and the factors that determine this evolution. You can also do a cross-sectional study through research.
An analogy and the analog method
This consists of inferring relationships or consequences between similar phenomena. You can use this method to create new knowledge. Using this method, for example, you can derive similar consequences from comparable historical periods.
By means of the modeling method you can make models to investigate reality. First, define the object you are going to study.
Once you’ve done this, you have to separate the essential from the non-essential, when it comes to the subject of the study. In this way you can get a clear idea of the essence of the object, and that abstraction from reality is your model.
The systemic-functional method
For Aristotle, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is due to interactions between parts with qualities that were not part of the mechanical sum of the qualities of each individual part. This method is based on that, designed to create new knowledge.
The Systematization Method
This method is related to the development of the scientific method. This method is mainly used in the systematization of data or information, but also when it comes to the systematization of experiences.
Thus, this classification of the scientific methods according to the purpose for which they are used in the research can be summarized in two ways. On the one hand, you have the research methods. These are:
- all empirical methods
- the analytical-synthetic method
- the historical-logical method
- the genetic method
- the systemization of information
On the other hand, there are methods to create new knowledge. Among them are:
- the hypothetical-deductive method
- the analog method
- the systemization
- the inductive-deductive method
- the modeling method
- the systemic-functional method
In short, keep two things in mind.
- First, a perfect methodology does not exist. Some are safer than others, but also slower. Others are less accurate than others, but also quicker to draw conclusions.
- Second, understand that knowledge is just as important as the method from which it is derived.