Steps of a Biological or Scientific Method

Scientific method

A way to gather information and answer questions in science is called scientific method.   “OR”   A method used by scientists to solve scientific problems is called scientific method.    “OR”   The scientific method is a process for experimentation that is use to explore observations and answer questions.

Biological Method

The scientific method in which biological problems are solved is called biological method.  OR  “A method used by biologists to solve biological problems is called biological method.


Importance of Biological method: Biological method is the best to obtain reliable knowledge about biology. It comprises all the steps a biologist adopt in order to solve a biological problem. Biological method contribute to advancements in all biology related fields like medicine, ecology, biotechnology, etc. Biological method also ensures the quality of data for public use.

Biological Problem


Biological problem: A biological problem is a question related to living organisms that is either asked by some one or comes in biologist’s mind by himself. The problem faced by a biologist during biological experiments , study or research is called biological problem.


Steps of a biological method  “OR”  Steps to solve a biological problem: Following are the basic steps a biologist can adopt during his research work or during a biological method.


1• Recognition of biological problem

2• Observations

3• Hypothesis formulation

4• Deductions

5• Experimentation

6• Summarization of results (create tables, graphics etc)

7• Reporting the results


Man has always been a biologist. He had to be a biologist in order to live. Early in history, he was a hunter of animals and a gatherer of fruits, seeds, roots etc. The more he knew about animals and their habitat, the more successful hunter he was. The more he knew about plants, the better he distinguished between edible and non-edible plants.


Darwin not only observed and took notes during his voyage, but he also read the works of other naturalists to form his theory of Evolution.


1• Recognition of biological problem: Biologists go for adopting biological method when they encounter some biological problem. A biological problem is a question related to living organisms that is either asked by some one or comes in biologist’s mind by himself.


2• Observations: The act of noticing something is called observation. As the first step in solving a biological problem, biologist recalls his/her previous observations or makes new ones. Observations are made with five senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Observations may be both qualitative and quantitative.


  • Quantitative observations: Observations that are measurable are called Quantitative observations. E.g: size of the plants, number of petals, etc.


  • Qualitative observations: Observations that are descriptive and non measurable are called qualitative observations. E.g, color of flower, taste , etc.


Qualitative observations Quantitative observations

• The freezing point of water is colder than the boiling point.

• A liter of water is heavier than a liter of ethanol.


• The freezing point of water 0 oC and the boiling point is 100 0C0.

• A liter of water weighs 1000 grams and a liter of ethanol weighs 789 grams.


  1. Formulation of Hypotheses: Tentative explanation of observations is called a hypothesis. A hypothesis may be a prepositions that might be true. A scientist is seeking. His hypothesis may be true or false. But he accepts it to be true. A hypothesis is a possible answer to a biological(scientific) problem(question). A hypothesis is an educated guess or statement made by biologist about a certain process on the basis of available information.


  • Characteristics of a good hypothesis: A hypothesis should have the following characteristics:
  • It should be a general statement.
  • It should be a tentative idea.
  • It should agree with available observations.
  • It should be kept as simple as possible.
  • It should be testable and potentially falsifiable. In other words, there should be a way to show the hypothesis is false; a way to disprove the hypothesis.

A great deal of careful and creative thinking is necessary for the formulation of a hypothesis. Biologists use reasoning to formulate a hypothesis.


Logical conclusion drawn from hypothesis are called deductions. At this step hypothesis is taken as true and expected results (deductions) are drawn from it. Deductions involves the use of “if-then” logic.

Regarding malaria deduction was made:

“If plasmodium is the cause of malaria, then all person ill with malaria should

have plasmodium in their blood.”

Biologists can’t usually check every situation where a hypothesis might apply. Let’s consider a hypothesis:

“All plant cells have a nucleus”. Biologist cannot examine every living plant and every plant that has ever lived to see if this hypothesis is false. Instead, biologists generate deduction using reasoning. From the above hypothesis, a biologist can make the following deduction: “If examine cells from a blade of grass, then each one will have a nucleus”.


  1. Experimentation: The act of Performing experiments is called experimentation. It is the most important step in biological method. Biologist performs experiments to see if hypotheses are true or not. The incorrect hypotheses are rejected and the one which proves correct is accepted.


What is “Control” in experiments?

In science when doing the experiment, it must be a controlled experiment. The scientist must contrast an “experimental group” with a “control group”. The two groups are treated exactly alike except for the one variable being tested. For example, in an experiment to test the necessity of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, one can contrast the control group (a plant with freely available carbon dioxide) with an experimental group (a plant with no carbon dioxide available). The necessity of carbon dioxide will be proved when photosynthesis occurs in the control group and does not occur in the experimental group.


  1. Summarization of results

Biologist gathers actual, quantitative data from experiments. Data for each of the groups are then averaged and compared statistically. To draw conclusions, biologist also uses statistical analysis if the data is quantitative type.


  1. Reporting the results

Biologists publish their findings in scientific journals and books, in talks at national and international meetings and in seminars at colleges and universities. Publishing of results is an essential part of scientific method. It allows other people to verify the results or apply the knowledge to solve other problems.


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