Using the Scientific Method in Your Non-Science Related Job

One of our first lessons in junior high school was to memorize the steps of the scientific method. I remember this, even if I did not pursued a career in any STEM field. Yet, I have found that this method can be applied to my day-to-day work.

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The scientific method is a 4-step process. According to Rochester University is a way in “which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate representation of the world” (Wolfs, n.a.).

It all starts with observation (and listening carefully). That’s the way of humans. The scientific method steps are:

1. Observation

In my job, the people in my audience are also my speakers. I need to be aware of their choice of topics, goals, achievements, and expectations.

Patrik Edblad advice nails that point: “Surround yourself with the right people” (2016). This piece of thought is important because as humans, we start behaving like our social group. Remember high school?

Listen, observe, and then listen again. I can learn a lot by listening to a conversation, by asking questions, and by being observant. That’s how I get most of my stories.

2. Formulation 

This step is about creating a hypothesis that can explain the phenomena. Humans do this by instinct. “He didn’t text me back because ____.”

The problem is when we use a hypothesis like a conclusion. My advice is hard to follow, but I’m giving it anyway: keep an open mind. Your hypothesis is “x” but evidence showed that it is actually “y.”

When I do a formulation I try not to make assumptions, because it may hurt my workflow. What I tend to do is to write everything down: which article, to whom, at what time, and about what.

3. Prediction

We do not own a crystal ball, but experience and questions can help us predict what is happening. Then again, observation is important. You can also “create your own system” (Edblad, 2016).

Where you have your hypothesis “he hasn’t reply because he’s out of town.” If you ask questions is easier to make a prediction that just waiting. “Have you seen ‘x’?” “Can we set up an interview later on?”


4. Experimentation

This is my favorite step. There’s nothing I love more than to do something new: projects, articles, columns, workflow.

The experiments are to prove or disregard your initial hypothesis. Then you can learn how a certain person likes to work. Or how to elevate a pitch to a certain media outlet.

After that, don’t forget to get back to step 1. We never stop learning.

Sources:

Edblad, P. (2016). “Forget About Motivation. Focus on This Instead.” GoodReads. Online https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/10280231-forget-about-motivation-focus-on-this-instead 

Wolfs, F. (n.a.) “Introduction to the Scientific Method.” Rochester University. Online http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html

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