The Process of Scientific Research

Scientific knowledge is advanced through a process known as the scientific method. Basically, ideas (in the form of theories and hypotheses) are tested against the real world (in the form of empirical observations), and those empirical observations lead to more ideas that are tested against the real world, and so on. In this sense, the scientific process is circular. The types of reasoning within the circle are called deductive and inductive. In deductive reasoning, ideas are tested against the empirical world; in inductive reasoning, empirical observations lead to new ideas. These processes are inseparable, like inhaling and exhaling, but different research approaches place different emphasis on the deductive and inductive aspects.

In the scientific context, deductive reasoning begins with a generalization—one hypothesis—that is then used to reach logical conclusions about the real world. If the hypothesis is correct, then the logical conclusions reached through deductive reasoning should also be correct. A deductive reasoning argument might go something like this: All living things require energy to survive (this would be your hypothesis). Ducks are living things. Therefore, ducks require energy to survive (this would be your logical conclusion). In this example, the hypothesis is correct; therefore, the conclusion is correct as well. Sometimes, however, an incorrect hypothesis may lead to a logical but incorrect conclusion. Consider this argument: all ducks are born with the ability to see. Quackers is a duck. (A) Therefore, Quackers was born with the ability to see. (B) Scientists use deductive reasoning to empirically test their hypotheses. (C) Returning to the example of the ducks, researchers might design a study to test the hypothesis that if all living things require energy to survive, then ducks will be found to require energy to survive. (D)

Q. In paragraph 2 there is a missing sentence. Look at the four squares [A, B, C, D] that indicate where the sentence could be added. Where would the sentence best fit?

This means that they create studies that are designed specifically to analyze their observations or experiences in order to prove or disprove their hypotheses.

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30 Reading Questions for TOEFL Prep - Group 2

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