Does a method really exist ?
Without doubt, some scientific methods of thinking are commonly used by scientists. And even though no single “scientific method” is used by all scientists in all areas of science at all times, I have developed a model of science that accurately describes the flexible improvisation typically used by scientists during their process of trying to ask-and-answer questions about nature.
Because my model of scientific method shows the working relationships between 9 aspects of science — 3 for evaluation criteria (empirical, conceptual, cultural-personal), 3 for the design (the generation & evaluation) of theories and experiments, 3 for the process of science (problem-solving projects, thought styles, productive thinking) — by logically integrating them into a coherent framework, I call it Integrated Scientific Method. This model is summarized (with links to related ideas) in An Introduction to Scientific Method and the 9 aspects of science are outlined in Scientific Method - An Overview and with more depth in Scientific Method - A Detailed Overview which condenses ideas from my two-part doctoral dissertation.
I also have developed a model of Integrated Design Method to describe the flexible goal-directed improvising of designers during the problem-solving process of design. This model — in which ideas are creatively generated, and are critically evaluated by comparing Goals, Predictions, and Observations in 3 ways to produce Quality Checks and Reality Checks — is outlined in An Introduction to Design and (using 9 modes of thinking-and-action) An Overview of Design Method.
Applications for Education
My models of design & science are intended to achieve two main goals: A) be an accurate description of methods, of what designers & scientists think-and-do when they are solving problems & seeking knowledge, thus improving our UNDERSTANDING of design & science; B) help students understand design & science, and increase the quality of their own thinking skills by helping them master the methods of thinking used by designers & scientists, thus improving our TEACHING. Let's look at the second goal: How can these models be used for education?
Scientific Thinking Skills (and Methods) for Teachers
Two types of lab teachers can improve the quality of their own thinking while they are teaching skills-and-methods to students:
In K-12 schools and small colleges, usually labs are taught by course instructors with long-term careers in teaching, and their teaching skill will improve when thinking skills education for students also helps the teachers become better thinkers.
In large research universities, most labs for the core sciences (biology, chemistry, physics) are taught by Teaching Assistants who are graduate students. As students, usually their main goal is learning how to become skilled scientists in research labs, and getting a degree to validate their skills. If labs are well designed, their teaching experience will help them achieve their goal of improved research skills, because an indirect educational benefit of teaching is that while these grad students are helping undergrad students learn skills-and-methods in labs, they will be improving their own thinking skills and knowledge of scientific methods.
this page is http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/teach/dblabs-sm.htm
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