An experiment is a procedure carried out to support or refute a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy or likelihood of something previously untried. Experiments provide insight into cause-and-effect by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular factor is manipulated. Experiments vary greatly in goal and scale but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results. There also exist natural experimental studies.
A child may carry out basic experiments to understand how things fall to the ground, while teams of scientists may take years of systematic investigation to advance their understanding of a phenomenon. Experiments and other types of hands-on activities are very important to student learning in the science classroom. Experiments can raise test scores and help a student become more engaged and interested in the material they are learning, especially when used over time. Experiments can vary from personal and informal natural comparisons (e.g. tasting a range of chocolates to find a favorite), to highly controlled.Uses of experiments vary considerably between the natural and human sciences.
Experiments typically include controls, which are designed to minimize the effects of variables other than the single independent variable. This increases the reliability of the results, often through a comparison between control measurements and the other measurements. Scientific controls are a part of the scientific method. Ideally, all variables in an experiment are controlled (accounted for by the control measurements) and none are uncontrolled. In such an experiment, if all controls work as expected, it is possible to conclude that the experiment works as intended, and that results are due to the effect of the tested variables.
3 Types of experiments
3.1 Controlled experiments
3.2 Natural experiments
3.3 Field experiments
4 Contrast with observational study
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
In the scientific method, an experiment is an empirical procedure that arbitrates competing models or hypotheses. Researchers also use experimentation to test existing theories or new hypotheses to support or disprove them.
An experiment usually tests a hypothesis, which is an expectation about how a particular process or phenomenon works. However, an experiment may also aim to answer a “what-if” question, without a specific expectation about what the experiment reveals, or to confirm prior results. If an experiment is carefully conducted, the results usually either support or disprove the hypothesis. According to some philosophies of science, an experiment can never “prove” a hypothesis, it can only add support. On the other hand, an experiment that provides a counterexample can disprove a theory or hypothesis, but a theory can always be salvaged by appropriate ad hoc modifications at the expense of simplicity.
Main article: History of experiments
One of the first methodical approaches to experiments in the modern sense is visible in the works of the Arab mathematician and scholar Ibn al-Haytham. He conducted his experiments in the field of optics—going back to optical and mathematical problems in the works of Ptolemy—by controlling his experiments due to factors such as self-criticality, reliance on visible results of the experiments as well as a criticality in terms of earlier results. He was one of the first scholars to use an inductive-experimental method for achieving results. In his Book of Optics he describes the fundamentally new approach to knowledge and research in an experimental sense:
Types of experiments
Experiments might be categorized according to a number of dimensions, depending upon professional norms and standards in different fields of study.
In some disciplines (e.g., psychology or political science), a ‘true experiment’ is a method of social research in which there are two kinds of variables. The independent variable is manipulated by the experimenter, and the dependent variable is measured. The signifying characteristic of a true experiment is that it randomly allocates the subjects to neutralize experimenter bias, and ensures, over a large number of iterations of the experiment, that it controls for all confounding factors.
Depending on the discipline, experiments can be conducted to accomplish different but not mutually exclusive goals: test theories, search for and document phenomena, develop theories, or advise policymakers. These goals also relate differently to validity concerns.
#experiments for kids,
#science experiments for kindergarten,
#experiments to do at home,
#science experiments with water,
#easy science experiments to do at home,
#15 science experiments,