See also: Method
One calls scientific method the whole of the guns guiding or which must guide the production process of the Connaissance S scientists, that they are Observation S, experiment S, Raisonnement S, or theoretical calculations.
Very often, it engages the implicit idea of its unicity, as well near the general public as of certain researchers, who in addition sometimes confuse it with the hypothético-deductive Méthode. The study of the practices of the researchers however reveals a so great diversity of the scientific steps that the idea of a unit of the method is made very problematic.
This report should not however be heard like an epistemological form of Anarchisme. If the question of the unit of the method is problematic (and this problem will be tackled more in detail below), that does not call in question the existence of a plurality of methodological guns which are binding to the researchers in their scientific practices.
Concept of method scientific
The scientific method is the object of the attention of the philosophers. It is then a question, generally, of deciding good scientific method, which consequently becomes a normative concept.
It is advisable to distinguish these philosophical reflections from the effective practices of the scientists. However, the ones are not always without influence on the others. The guns enacted by Aristote were thus during centuries in the middle of the step " scientifique" (if one accepts the anachronism which underline the quotation marks).
Aristote (384 av. J. - C., 322 av J. - C.) is the first to be reflected on the development of a scientific method: " We estimate to have the science of a thing in an absolute way, writes it, when we believe that we know the cause by which the thing is, whom we know that this cause is that of the thing, and that moreover it is not possible that the thing is other than it est" (Second Anal. I, 2,71b, 9-11). It remains about it however with the idea of a purely deductive science.
Roger Bacon (1214 - 1294), regarded as the father of the scientific method, created the applied science by making Expérience the only source of scientific knowledge.
Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon
See also: Réfutabilité
The refutationnism (or falsificationism, or faillibilism) are presented by Karl Popper in its book the logic of the scientific discovery . It criticizes there the Inductivisme and the Vérificationnisme, which according to him are valid neither from a logical point of view nor from an epistemological point of view to produce reliable scientific knowledge.
According to Popper, rather than to seek verifiable proposals, the scientist must produce refutable statements. It is this Réfutabilité which must constitute the Critère of demarcation between a scientific assumption and an pseudo-assumption. It is while being based on such a criterion that Popper criticizes the Marxisme or the Psychanalyse, which according to him do not answer this requirement of refutabibility, these theories resting on ad hoc assumptions which would immunize them against very critical.
It is on this basis that Popper develops its Méthode criticizes, which consists in testing in all possible ways the theoretical systems.
Plurality of the method
Context of justification and context of discovery
To seize the concept of method scientific, it is necessary to start by pointing out the distinction between context of justification and context of discovered. The context of discovered refers to the way in which a scientific result is obtained, discovered, while the context of justification relates to the justification of a theory or an assumption with these results.
Reichenbach writes that there “ do not exist logical rules in terms of which a " machine with découverte" could be built, which takes care of the creative function of the genius ”, meaning thus that only the context of justification can be justiciable to a methodological analysis, while the context of discovered remains out of reach such an investigation.
The philosopher of sciences Dominique Lecourt adds “ thus that there is no scientific method, at least considered abstractedly as a whole of fixed and universal rules governing the whole of the scientific activity ” (Lecourt, 1999, article " méthode").
This question of the major unity of the method, and thus of science, is the subject of debate still today. But each one agrees to recognize, as well among the analysts as the actors of science, which there does not exist any " recette" general what would follow or be supposed to follow the researchers to produce new knowledge.
One can however locate in the scientific activity various methods applicable according to the situations, as well in the context of justification as in the context of discovery.
It also should be stressed that the distinction even between context of discovered and context of justification and the object of strong criticism. It offers a conceptual framework however making it possible to think the scientific method.
Methods in the context of justification
It acts in this case of the methods making it possible to distinguish truth from the forgery.
We said it in introduction, it is not a question so much here to describe a coherent and fixed whole of rules of development of the scientific knowledge, a " recette" , to describe the various methodological guns which take part in this development.
- Méthode criticizes
- deductive Méthode: method which consists starting from the general to arrive to the private individual.
- Analytical methods
- Methods of Millet
- Method of the differences
- Method of the concomitant variations
- Method of the residues
- negative Method of agreement
- positive Method of agreement
- joined together Method of agreement and difference
- inductive-deductive Method of Aristote
- Methods of test
- Methods by assumption
- hypothético-deductive Method
- Model DNN of explanation
- deductive Model ofexplanation
- Model I-S of explanation
- Reproducibility: the Reproductibilité is the best test of the validity of a scientific experimentation.
- nomothetic Approach: in this case, the researcher aims at the determination of natural laws.
- Creation of models: the model is an object stripped of all that does not relate to the studied properties. All the difficulty is precisely to select the important components, all and only them. The Abstraction is the base of the design of a model: a real object, a phenomenon, is analyzed in order to keep only the essential characteristics of them, those which have an influence on what one wants to study. Very often, one has general models which one can specialize.
- analytical Method: division of a problem complexes in simpler subproblems. This method was stated by Rene Descartes in his Discourse on Method : “… to divide each difficulty which I would examine, in as many pieces as it could be, and than it would be necessary for best solving. ”
- Abstraction: The abstraction consists in isolating by the thought a particular property from an object, to form on this basis a particular representation of this object.
- Sizes and measurement
Methods in the context of discovery
The principal methods mobilized in the context of discovery are the experimentation, the observation, the modeling and today the digital simulation, which are found to differing degree in the majority of the scientific disciplines. With these general methods methods more singular, suitable are added for a particular scientific practice.
The Astronomie is one of the scientific disciplines where the observation is central.
Shapin and Schaffer, by studying the history of the air pump, analyze the birth of the experimental method.
The experimentation is also an instrument with the service of the discovery.
The main issue of the life sciences, in particular of the Biology and the Medicine, is the search for Cause S, with diseases, phenomena natural. Indeed, the living organisms are sensitive to a multitude of parameters which it is on the one hand difficult to insulate, and on the other hand, more one isolates the parameters, more one moves away from reality.
Before the experiment one must find a Hypothèse which explains the phenomenon. It is only after one works out and one implements the Scientific experiment which will be able to validate this assumption. The Explication will be then Vrai E.
Many sciences of the Ground and the Universe (in particular: Astrophysical, Seismology, Météorologie) rest mainly on the development of Modèle S and on their confrontation with Observation S of phenomena.
The scientists of these disciplines also have recourse to the digital simulations.
A role for the analogy?
Imagination and intuition
Medicine and method of the double blind man
Certain people cure spontaneously, others react more or less well to the drugs, and in addition, the fact of even taking a treatment can sometimes have effects beneficial or negative even if the treatment itself is without effect (Effet placebo). It is thus necessary to undertake studies known as “randomized as a double blind man”.
History and idiographic approach
Essentially, the historical fact is singular: it there only one Russian Révolution, that only one ancient Egypt. The analysis of these singular events thus rests on a idiographic approach. Certain authors, therefore Karl Marx and Carl Hempel, however tried to develop a nomothetic approach of the History, while supporting which there exist " laws of Histoire". This design of the History was highly criticized by Popper, in " Misery of the historicisme".
Quantitative and qualitative studies in Social sciences
Two large currents of methodology come to give an account of reality in Social sciences. The qualitative Methods and the quantitative Methods. These method of analysis can be used only; they can be used independently one of the other, in complementarity; they can bring each different brief reply or it can be used jointly to analyze the same aspect twice and thus to validate it. According to Gilles-Gaston Granger, in " Qualitative models, quantitative models in knowledge scientifique" the qualitative methods, usually perceived like excluding the scientificity, brought significantly to contemporary sciences while making it possible to give an account of the structures which can be observed and which these forms, although measurable are initially about the qualitative evaluation: The evolution of the awakening of the major nature of the scientific thought could be symbolized very schematically, by three currencies, of which each one reinterprets in a certain manner and rectifies the preceding one. It was initially proclaimed that there was science only the universal ; then that there was science only measurable . We should say today: there is direction only the structurable . Profession of faith which challenges the two preceding ones by no means, but relativizes them, and gives a new direction to universal and the mesurable."
Thus, it is advisable to recognize the contribution of these methodologies in social sciences. It is possible besides to make Expérience S in Analyze of the social networks. The study of the small world represents the most popularized experiment kind.
The majority of the contemporary economists admits that the methods used in economy must approach as much as possible methods of physical sciences. The economists of the Austrian École support on the contrary that the economy must, like mathematics and logic, being built by pure logical derivation starting from irrefutable axioms.
Question of the unit of the method
Vis-a-vis this difficulty two opposite attitudes were born:
- the emergence of the social sciences starting from the end of the 19th century and with the 20th century resulted in calling in question the old-fashioned model of the scientific method, which defines in a reducing way the concept of science.
- For other authors, like Michel Foucault in the words and the things , it is necessary on the contrary to be wary of the tautology which consists in defining a discipline as scientific because its name contains the word science . It would be thus desirable, that following the example Philosophie, these disciplines are assumed as a rational step of study of reality without possible experimentation.
History of the method
Independently of the philosophical quarrels developing around the concept of method scientific, the practices of the scientists have largely advanced during the centuries. The researchers do not furnish more the proof today as it was done five centuries ago.
Universality of the method
The method evolves/moves in time. It also evolves/moves in the espace.
The activities carried on in the various applied sciences are so varied that it would be vain to seek to model them. On the other hand the scientific, supposed steps to create knowledge, are common and universal which it is possible of exhiber. The model of the experimental step comprises two complementary and indissociable descriptions:
- the experimental step passes obligatorily by three stages. It is:
- the experimental step obligatorily utilizes three fields:
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