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Rengel De Vera Arconado STS-1 WFR-1

2015-06875 Prof. Felipe Jocano

The Scientific Method:

Formal vs Everyday Application

“Scientific method concerns the principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of
knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data
through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses”
- Merriam-Webster, Online Dictionary

Back in our elementary and high school education, our science teachers has taught us that
scientific problems can be solved through a series of steps called the “scientific method”. We were
imparted the knowledge that scientific discoveries and breakthroughs made upon by famous names
in the scientific field came up with such findings by following such steps. Thus, it was marked in
our brains that this method implies a certain degree of technicality especially that our minds were
adjusted to the perspective of seeing the “experimentation step” as something that includes
microscopes, test tubes, pipettes, flasks, and other scientific instruments. Our minds was adjusted
with the notion that the “scientific method” is only applicable inside a laboratory room and is
utilized only by the minds of those who wear laboratory gowns, face masks, and safety hand
However, in Robert Pirsig’s “On Scientific Method” which appeared on his book entitled,
“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values”, it was mentioned that
scientific method is not, and never, limited within the laboratory. In fact, in this article, he tackled
how he himself utilizes scientific method to be able to resolve mechanical problems in his
This was further expounded during the class activity in which each group was tasked to
reflect on how they utilize scientific method with common day to day problems and encounters.
One group tackled how a member came up with the idea of rising early to avoid traffic while the
other group discussed how they concluded that walking is a better option for UP students when
transferring from one building to another. Each group presented a different problem and a different
solution. Thus, it can be settled that scientific method is being applied to the daily lives of every
being, sometimes it just comes unnoticed since individuals are drawn to the idea of a “technical”
approach in the scientific method.
Reflecting on my own thoughts, I have decided at first to use our design process in the
College of Architecture as an example of how I use scientific method on an everyday basis. In our
design process, we identify the problems in the site and in the structure to be built, we gather
information, we try to suggest or hypothesize solutions and then test them through reading on past
researches, and then conclude from there. It is therefore a scientific method on its own nature.
However, the word “everyday” comes into perspective. Do I do this every day? I may be doing
the design process often since I am an architecture student and that is what we do, but it is definitely
not done on a regular basis. From here on, I was able to establish the delineation of formal scientific
method and the everyday scientific method.
My first thought was that formal scientific deals only with the scientific field and is directed
towards breakthroughs and discoveries whilst everyday scientific method is anything that is not in
line with the sciences.
However, a deeper contemplation has led me another answer.
Formal scientific method deals with problems that require a longer span of time before
reaching a conclusion. It shall require you to do some research, collect notes and a deal with a lot
more complex group of data.
Formal scientific method in my own experience is being utilized during my design process,
every time I write a paper regarding a certain topic, and dealing with my laptop’s technical
On the other hand, everyday scientific method deals with regular and common problems,
and oftentimes, we do not recognize that we are already utilizing the said method. The problems
has become regular, and somehow basic, that it requires less data, and is easier to handle, thus
coming up with a conclusion is faster. Sometimes coming up with a conclusion is very fast that
we tend to just raffle through the steps, and thus forgetting that our mind has processed such steps
before drawing an answer.
One instance on which I was able to utilize everyday scientific method is every time I
choose what instant coffee to buy in the store. My mind establishes the question, “Should I buy
black coffee?” to which my brain provides two answers namely, “yes” and “no”. And then my
mind processes the fact that I am acidic, and tends to vomit when drinking hard coffee. And soon
enough I come to conclude that black coffee is not good for me, and the answer is “no”. The mind
is so powerful and the process too rapid that we do not notice our mind jumping from one step to
another. What just comes in the mind is the conclusion that I should not buy black coffee.
To think of it, formal scientific method is utilized almost in every aspect and instance in
our lives. Every time we choose what dress to wear, what food to eat, where to go and how to react
to events.
In conclusion, the scientific is much more useful than we thought it has been. It does not
only encompass the sciences but is also being used in every individual’s day to day living. Every
field and every knowledge has their own form of scientific method. The scientific method has
already been a way of thinking, rather than just a mere process. Oftentimes it is already being
overseen, and thus, come unnoticed since the mind processes the data on its own and we tend to
not notice that our mind undergoes and follows the scientific method.