Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 85

Scientific Research Methods:

Processes, Techniques, Models and Practices Part I - Introduction Prof. Dr. Vu Duong
Director & Chair of Systems Science

John von Neumann Institute, Vietnam National University HCM

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation

Course Objectives
Through theoretical lectures, classroom exercises and personal mini-research project, the course aims at introducing:
The different characteristics of the typical procedures and models related to the selection and the execution of a scientific research topic. The models and techniques to help research students solving the practical problems often encountered in scientific research, typically:
Where am I? and Where am I going? or How can I do / reach that?

Practically, how to write a sound research proposal.


Pedagogy (1)

Scientific Research, a Doctoral degree? Yes, but what for? And How? Clarify some myths across the typical research process, allowing research-students and young researchers to handle a research topic with methods and confidence. Develop Scientific Spirit through lectures about history and philosophy of sciences, and ethical aspect of scientific research as part of the Scientific Method.

Pedagogy (2)

Method or Methodology?
Discuss certain technical aspects of the methods often used in technological and scientific research. Independently from the particularities of scientific and/or technologic disciplines. Understand the practices of scientific research e.g. how long would it normally takes to define and design an experiment, or how to work in a team, and how to avoid the chaos at certain moment.

Course Syllabus
Emphasizes on the details so-called important for a beginner in scientific research:
Defining research subject, Writing research proposal, Formulating or modeling the research problem, Experimenting or demonstrating research analysis (experimentation and data analysis). Writing reports and papers to scientific conferences,

Scientific Research: Myth or Reality ?

Scientific Research:
Often considered as an intellectual activity topping all human interventions, but could be at the same time the origin of all ecological and humanitarian disasters. Theres no doubt that scientific research is an integral part of human societal progress, Its results are sometimes highly beneficial, e.g. X-ray, Computer sciences, medicine, etc. but for the same passions, research could be the origin, or can create the conditions favoring human disasters,, e.g. hydrogen bombs! However, it is undeniable that research, particularly in sciences and technologies, is an important factor responsible for the progress of mankind society. Ethical Issues in Scientific Research

Scientific Research: Myth or Reality ?

It is therefore legitimate to interrogate What is Research? Several answers possible. yours ?
(Classroom Discussion)

A pragmatic view: scientific research can be approached as problem solving: Problem Definition, Hypothesis, Approach for Solving Problem, Experimentation and Feedback, Conclusion but scientific problem is different from engineering problem. (discussion)

Categories of Research

Methodology: Empirical vs. Theoretical Research Applicability: Fundamental vs. Applied Research Locality: Academic vs. Industrial Research

Empirical vs. Theoretical

Empirical Research: Implies experimental studies and observations via laboratory instruments and equipments. Measured and observed quantities are used in the evaluation of existing theories/laws, and/or can provide the facts for developing theories/laws (theoretical studies). Theoretical Research: Implies the development of theoretical models (on paper). Major goal is to formulate a theory/law that synthesizes / generalizes the data describing the phenomena of the nature (physical or organizational) to be studied. This theory/law shall be used to predict other results. New results will be verified by empirical measures.

Basic vs. Applied Research

A very general classification to describe the goal of a research project. Basic research, or fundamental research, covers the studies in which researchers pursue their investigations to uncover the functioning of the nature. Applied research extend the findings from basic research to useful technologies that can be used to develop the products that respond to societys needs. Research for the reality of the nature is tolerated to a large degree, principally because experiences have demonstrated that scientific discoveries will deliver, sooner or later, certain useful foundations for progresses ()


Academic vs. Industrial Research

Tendency: Basic Research = major thematic at universities, Applied Research = goal of most industries. Historic: Universities dominated basic research in the past, Beginning of XXth century: Research started to play a major role in the development of industrial products. In particular in electronics, chemical engineering, and pharmaceutical industries. Birth of industrial laboratories or specialized private labs. During the 2nd World War, governments had created national labs to respond to society needs and to bridge universities and non-university labs.


Mt s vn v phng php hc tp v nghin cu khoa hc

JAIST & John von Neumann Institute, VNUHCM

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation

Phn 1
V vic hc cao hc v nghin cu khoa hc
(from talks at HCMUT 2007, ICT-Hanoi 2007, and some writings)


Bn cht ca o to sau i hc

cht ca o to thc s l hc
Hc l vic chuyn tri thc con ngi bit thnh tri thc ca cc c nhn hoc t chc. i hc: hc cc tri thc chung ca ngh; Thc s: hc cc tri thc chuyn su ca ngh. Thc s l ngi tinh thng ngh nghip (master, tude approfondie).


cht ca o to tin s l nghin cu

Nghin cu l vic tm v to ra cc tri thc mi v c ngha bi cc c nhn hoc t chc. Tin s l ngi bit lm nghin cu, v ch yu lm vic nghin cu.


Bn cht ca o to thc s l hc
Chng trnh thc s ph bin trn th gii
Hc hai nm vi tn ch Nm u ch yu hc cc mn cn thit (khong 10 mn, phn ln t chn) Nm th hai ch yu cho vic rn luyn
seminar, reading, hot ng ca lab lm ti nghin cu, vit v bo v lun vn.

Chng trnh thc s ph bin ca ta

Phn ln thi gian cho cc mn hc trn lp (khong 20 mn) Cha dng h tn ch t thi gian cho rn luyn v lm lun vn t rn kh nng t hc Tiu ch v cch nh gi cha thch hp (lun yu cu ci mi)?


Bn cht ca o to tin s l nghin cu

i hi c bn
Bit xc nh c vn nghin cu c ngha Bit gii quyt vn Bit vit bi v trnh by.

Xa iu kin ca B GD-T:
01 bi bo tp ch quc t, mt vi bai hi ngh quc t 01 bi bo tp ch trong nc

Rt nhiu lun n lm ng dng thay v nghin cu c bn hay ng dng Kt qu ch yu cng b cc tp ch hay hi ngh trong nc.

Thch thc ln!1995-2004:

5259 GS & PGS 3236 (800) bi tp ch quc t



(Tp ch Tia Sng, 18.10.2007)

Some Ph.D. thesis

Nhn thc ca cng chc hnh chnh v vic sp xp li b my ca c quan chuyn mn trc thuc y ban nhn dn cp tnh, thnh ph Nhn thc ca thanh nin nng thn v cht lng cuc sng gia nh hin nay Nghin cu nhu cu in nh ca sinh vin Pht huy vai tr ca tri thc ngnh y t Vit Nam trong cng cuc i mi. Lch s pht trin gio dco to An giang (1975 2000)



Ton b nhng th lin quan n tnh ton, t cu trc my tnh n cc h thng thng minh, ngi my, n thut ton v l thuyt tnh ton.

Chng trnh v sch gio khoa ICT

Khoa hc my tnh K ngh phn mm

(computer science)

(software engineering)

Pht trin v bo tr cc h thng phn mm, cho chng tin cy v hiu qu

K ngh my tnh

Cng ngh h thng thng tin

(computer engineering)
Thit k v xy dng cc h my tnh, cc h thng da trn my tnh (hardware)

(information systems technology)

Cng ngh thng tin

(information technology)

Gn gii php ca CNTT vo cc qu trnh kinh doanh, tc nghip qua vic xy dng cc h thng thng tin ca t chc (ch trng phn thng tin)
Computing Curriculum 2005 (IEEE & ACM)

(a) Tt c mi th (b) Cng ngh my tnh vn hnh v pht trin cc h thng thng tin ca t chc (ch trng phn cng ngh)

CC 2005: http://www.computer.org/portal/cms_docs_ieeecs/ieeecs/education/cc2001/CC2005-March06Final.pdf Before 1990s, in North America: computer science, electrical engineering, and information systems


Chng trnh v sch gio khoa ICT

Sinh vin khng ch cn hc nhng th hin nay c bit, m cn c cch lm sao gi cho kin thc ca mnh c cp nht. Cc cng c da trn cng ngh thu thp tri thc cn phi tr thnh nhng yu t trung tm ca gio dc cho h, v chng trnh cn c xy dng sinh vin hc cch hc *
Information technology
(Cng ngh thng tin)

information systems technology

(Cng ngh h thng thng tin)

Kh nng t hc l ct yu Ph thuc chng trnh, thy v tr.

computer engineering
(K ngh my tnh)

computer science
(Khoa hc my tnh)

software engineering
(K ngh phn mm)

Peril and Promise: Higher Education in Developing Countries, World Bank & UNESCO

Khoa hc v Cng ngh

Khoa hc l vic kho st cc hin tng t nhin v x hi tm tri thc mi. Cng ngh l cch dng cc tri thc khoa hc v vt liu t mc tiu lm sn phm ( technology is not about tools, it deals with how humans work , Peter Drucker). Thay i khp ni Vit Nam trong cc nm 1990s: khoa hc khoa hc & cng ngh (Vin KHVN Vin KH&CNVN, B Khoa hc v Cng ngh, etc.) Khoa hc v cng ngh rt lin quan n nhau nhng l hai th khc nhau. KH-CN ang c dng ln vo nhau nh mt n v ca nhn thc (khng lun lun tt). Vit Nam cn t l khoa hc IC v cng ngh IC bao nhiu?


Nghin cu c bn, nghin cu ng dng v ng dng?

Nghin cu c bn: Tm tri thc mi cho cc nghin cu c bn khc hay nghin cu ng dng
Gene finding M hnh ngn ng ting Vit Kernel methods

ng dng: Dng tri thc bit gii quyt cc vn thc t. Trong ICT

Nghin cu ng dng: Tm tri thc khoa hc gii quyt cc vn thc t

Dch my Anh-Vit

Nghin cu c bn c th nhanh chng chuyn vo nghin cu ng dng Nghin cu ng dng c th nhanh chng chuyn thnh sn phm ng dng c khp ni



Nghin cu c bn, nghin cu ng dng v ng dng?

Trong khi khng phi mi t nc u cn tin hnh nghin cu c bn nhiu lnh vc khc nhau, mi t nc cn phi xem xt cc loi nghin cu khoa hc v cng ngh c th trc tip ng gp vo s pht trin ca mnh. ... C l cu hi cn hi nht l: u l mc ti thiu cc hot ng khoa hc v cng ngh cn phi c t c cc mc tiu ca quc gia? Nghin cu c bn bao nhiu phn trm? Vo vn gi? Lnh vc no? nn tp trung cho cc nghin cu lm nn tng cho nghin cu ng dng. Cn khuyn khch v t chc nghin cu cng ngh cao v u tin cho s ng lm nghin cu ng dng.
Peril and Promise: Higher Education in Developing Countries, World Bank and UNESCO


Hng n cc cng b quc t

Nghin cu cn hng n cng b trn cc tp ch v hi ngh quc t * Cn khuyn khch v cao cc nghin cu cht lng cao, v phn bit gi tr khc nhau ca kt qu nghin cu (rt cnh tranh) Cn dy v hc phng php nghin cu khoa hc Tng bc t mc tiu trn
* Vn ha ngnh trong tiu ch nh gi, http://www.tiasang.com.vn/news?id=1771

S bi bo tp ch quc t 10 nm
Areas # papers Res. Institutions Universities Citation avg Mathematics 300 144 121 1.4 Theoretical Physics 131 100 31 2.4 Experimental Physics 40 16 24 1.6 Technology 42 25 9 0.8 ICT 38 19 11 1.3 Materials Science 36 9 27 1.8 Medicine 36 28 8 2.3 Chemistry 32 28 4 1.2 Agriculture 23 15 8 1.7 Polymer 19 14 5 1.1 Mechanics 17 15 1 2.6 Social science 14 12 2 0.2 Environmental science 13 13 0 4.1 Biology 10 9 1 1.3 Earth science 9 8 1 0.5 Pharmacy and drug 1 0 1 4 Management science 1 1 0 0 Others 36 Total 798 Source: Phm Duy Hin, http://vietnamnet.vn/khoahoc/vande/2006/01/532815/ (1995-2004: 3236) Nguyn Vn Tun: http://www.tiasang.com.vn/news?id=2166 (1996-2005: 3456)

( made in Vietnam during 1995-2004)


So snh Thailand & Vietnam

In 2001-2002
Thailand # Articles in inter. journals Made with foreigners (A) # Citations (A) until 12.2006 Made in the country (B) # Citations (B) until 12.2006 Made by universities # Articles in Math & Physics 3103 1739 13912 1364 5324 1208 68 Vietnam 737 546 4681 173 323 69 104 Rate (TL/VN) 4/1 3/1 3/1 8/1 16/1 17/1 0.7/1

In 2001-2002
Chulalongkorn # Articles # Citations Articles in Math & Physics 302 948 15 VNU-HN 25 63 21 VNU-HCM 8 13 7 Rate (Chula/ VNUHN+VNUHCM) 9.15/1 12.47/1 0.53/1

Source: Phm Duy Hin, http://vietnamnet.vn/nhandinh/2007/01/649976/


em hi ngh quc t n Vietnam

Rt t ngi t cc nc ang pht trin tham d c cc hi ngh khoa hc quc t hng u v ICT (NIPS, ICML, KDD, IJCAI, ) L do v khng c bi lt vo cc ni ny v khng c tin i (th d ca IJCAI 2007 ti n ) Hai vn ni cm: no show, plagiarism. Lm sao em c nhiu hi ngh quc t tt n Vit Nam (PAKDD05, RIVF07, RIVF08, PRICAI08, etc.)? Cn s tham gia vi nhiu c gng, chun b v ng gp t Vit Nam.

Method or Methodology?

The scientific methods used in research are fundamentally different from The scientific research methodology.


Method or Methodology?

Research Methodology concerns the study of scientific methods, whose objective is to improve the procedures and the criteria used in the conduct of scientific research. [4] Method deals with the evaluation and the selection of alternative techniques. [4] A technique is a sequence of particular actions; A tool is an instrument, physical or conceptual, e.g. mathematical tools used in problem modeling. We focus on the techniques and tools that may assist young researchers in their scientific approaches.
[4] Russell L. Ackoff, Scientific Method, John Wiley & Sons, 1962, p. 6.

Example of a methodology

Example of a method

Example of a model


What is Scientific Method?


Why Scientific Method?

An understanding of the scientific method is essential for success and productivity in science. Hugh Gauch (2003) Professor at Cornell University
Scientific Method in Practice Cambridge University Press


What is Science?
A branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena (facts or occurrences that are perceived), especially concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe.

Oxford English Dictionary


What is Science?
Conant, J.B. (On Understanding Science: An Historical Approach. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1951) defined science as a connected series of theories and concepts derived from observation and experimentation that can lead to further experimentation and observation. Science, therefore, can be viewed as the process of searching for explanations, or for the causes of events, and it is defined by its method: the scientific method.
James Bryant Conant (1893 - 1978) was a chemist, educational administrator, and government official. He was instrumental in the early career of Thomas Kuhn, whose The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has been extremely influential for the various fields of science studies.


Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996)

Science is a social activity, which is affected by practical activity, empirical observations and broad theoretical paradigms
In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (SSR) (1962) Kuhn argued that science does not progress via a linear accumulation of new knowledge, but undergoes periodic revolutions, also called "paradigm shifts" (although he did not coin the phrase), in which the nature of scientific inquiry within a particular field is abruptly transformed. In general, science is broken up into three distinct stages. Prescience, which lacks a central paradigm, comes first. This is followed by "normal science", when scientists attempt to enlarge the central paradigm by "puzzle-solving". Thus, the failure of a result to conform to the paradigm is seen not as refuting the paradigm, but as the mistake of the researcher, contra Popper's refutability criterion


Goals of Science
Discovery of Regularities
Description of Phenomena. Discovering Laws. Law - a statement that certain events are regularly associated with each other in an orderly way. Search for Causes.
We often overlook the real cause, Some events are just coincidences, Sometimes the real cause is another event correlated with the suspected cause, Cause cannot happen after their effects.


Goals of Science
The ultimate goal of science is the development of a theory to explain the lawful relationships that exist in a particular field. E. Bright Wilson, Jr.

Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Harvard University

Development of Theories Theory - A statement or set of statements explaining one or more

laws, usually including one indirect concept needed to explain the relationship. Falsifiability - property of a good theory that is capable to disproof. Theory must be testable. Role of Theories: organising knowledge and explaining laws; predicting new laws; guiding research.


Philosophies of Science

The process of scientific thinking depends both on making careful observations of phenomena and on inventing theories for making sense out of those observations. (AAAS, 1989)


Ant, Spider, and Bee

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

2007, Paul Burgess - Cranfield University


Scientific Method
Science started with the observation of the nature [1] and by the belief that the observed phenomenon can be explained [2] through an abstraction socalled scientific. People had thought that sciences could be nobler if She could explain all phenomena and problems using only one generalized, prescribed procedure. For long time, scientists and philosophers had tried to formulate such a procedure, popularly known under the label scientific method. The so-called recipe had been assumed capable to govern all aspects of scientific research. Nowadays, everybody recognize that the process to respond to scientific problems is lots more subtle than a prescribed procedure, recipe, or technique. Sole problem: The Rose [3] !

1. [Martin Goldstein et Inge Goldstein, How We Know Plenum Press 1979 p.19] 2. [W. Beveridge, The Art of Scientifique Investigation W. Norton, 1957, p. 87] 3. [Shakespeare, Hamlet, p.? ]


Scientific Method
The original scientific method, also called Cartesian Method, was proposed by Rene Descartes in the XVIIth. Its main tenet was that the entire world could be understood in terms of machines, and its main approach was divide-and-conquer: 1. Analyse: to divide any concept or thing, preferably into 2 parts, and to keep subdividing until reaching clear and distinct parts; 2. Synthesis: to reassemble the parts bottom-up to create a whole; and 3. Validation: to do an overall audit to ensure the process was used properly.


Scientific Method
Formal experimental science came later as an outgrowth of the broader Cartesian methods of inquiry. Usually, one has to analyze the data collected and come up with a new hypothesis and start the process all over again.

The Discourse on the Method is a philosophical and mathematical treatise published by Ren Descartes in 1637. Its full name is Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Searching for Truth in the Sciences. It has been one of the most influential works in the history of modern science.


Scientific Method
Science is a process for: ! systematically collecting and recording data about the physical world, ! then categorizing and studying that data ! to infer the principles of nature that best explain the observed phenomena." Definition agreed by 72 Nobel laureates in 1986 according to www.answersinscience.org/What-Is-Science.htm


Hypothesis in Science
Hypothesis A statement that is assumed to be true for the purpose of testing its validity. The statement must be one that is either true or false. A scientific hypothesis must be capable of empirical testing and, as a result, empirical confirmation or disconfirmation.


Scientific Method in Physics

Scientific Method is a formal method for understanding phenomena. It consists, briefly, of: A description of the phenomena. At least two hypotheses which explain the phenomena. Extrapolation of the hypotheses until an experiment is found which will distinguish between them. Performance of the experiment, and rejection of one or more hypothesis according to the result.


Scientific Method vs. Programming

Scientific Method:
1. Identify the behaviour you want to explain. 2. Form a Hypothesis that might explain that behaviour. 3. Conduct an experiment that tests the hypothesis. 4. If the experiment contradicts the hypothesis, revise it or replace it with a new hypothesis and go back to step 3.

1. Identify the malfunctioning in your program (bug) you want to fix. 2. Make a guess as to what the program is doing to cause the bug. 3. Conduct a test to see if the guess is correct. 4. If the test contradicts the guess than revise it or replace it with a new guess and go back to step 3.

Difference between Scientific Method and Debugging:
The scientific method looks at many data points and tries to construct a general theory to cover them; Debugging looks at a single data point. Experiments in scientific method require modelling and simulations to test the hypothesis. Sometimes the contradictions between the experiments and the hypothesis come from the errors in modelling and incompleteness in simulation environments. Other points?


Scientific Method in Dictionaries

Scientific method n. The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth of falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis. (The American Heritage Dictionary of the
English Language, 4th Edition, 2004.)

An orderly technique of investigation that is supposed to account for scientific progress. The method consists of the following steps: (1) careful observations of nature. (2) Deduction of natural laws. (3) Formulation of hypotheses - generalization of those laws to previously unobserved phenomena. (4) Experimentation or observational testing of the validity of the predictions thus made. Actually, scientific discoveries rarely occur in this idealized, wholly rational, and orderly fashion. (The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy,
3rd Edition, E.D. Hirsch, Jr. , J.F. Kett, and J. Trefil, editors 2002.)


Scientific Method in Wikipedia

A scientific method or process is considered fundamental to the scientific investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. Scientists use observation, hypotheses and deductions to propose explanations for natural phenomena in the form of theories. Predictions from these theories are tested by experiment. If a prediction turns out to be correct, the theory survives. Any theory which is cogent enough to make predictions can then be tested reproducibly in this way. The method is commonly taken as the underlying logic of scientific practice. A scientific method is essentially an extremely cautious means of building a supportable, evidence-based understanding of our natural world.
(Wikipedia information about scientific method, article licensed under the GNU Free Documentation Licence.)


History - Empiricism
The Edwin Smith Papyrus (circa 1600 BC) details the examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of numerous ailments. Evidence of traditional empiricism appears also in the Ebers papyrus (circa 1550 BC) that prescribed diseased demons and superstition.

The Edwin Smith Papyrus is the world's earliest known medical document, written in hieratic around the 17th century BCE, but thought to be based on material from a thousand years earlier. It is an ancient textbook on trauma surgery, and describes anatomical observations and the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous injuries in exquisite detail. (Wikipedia)


History - Plato (428-348 BC)

In Ancient Greece, towards the middle of the Vth century BC, some of the elements of a scientific tradition were already well established. In Protagoras, Plato mentions the teaching of arithmetic, astrology and geometry in schools. The philosophical ideas of this time were mostly freed from the constraints of everyday phenomena and common sense. This denial of reality as we experience it reaches an extreme in Parmenides that who argued that the world is one and that change and subdivision do not exist.

Plato (Greek: , Pltn, "wide, broad-browed") (428/427 BC 348/347 BC), was a Classical Greek philosopher. Together with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the philosophical foundations of Western culture.


Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and Empiricism

Aristotle provided yet another ingredient of scientific tradition: empiricism. For him, the Platonic, universal ideal is to be found in particular things, what he calls the essence of things. Using the concept of essence, Aristotle reconciles abstract thought with observation. In Aristotelian science, we find the beginnings of a primitive inductive method, although one that is based on collections of objects rather than experimentation.
Aristotle (Greek: Aristotls) (384 BC 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great.


History - Roger Bacon (1214-1294)

Roger Bacon, also known as Doctor Mirabilis (Latin: "wonderful teacher"), English philosopher who placed considerable emphasis on empiricism, he was one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method. In his enunciation of a method (XIIIth - under dir.
Robert Grosseteste and inspired by the writings of the Arab alchemists who had preserved and built upon Aristotles portrait of induction), described a

repeating cycle of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and the need for independent verification.


History - Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

by successive steps not interrupted or broken, we rise from particular to lesser axioms; and then to middle axioms, one above the other; and last to all to the most general.

Francis Bacon in Novum Organum (1620) attempted to describe a rational procedure for establishing causation between phenomena. He argued that scientific theories (or rather axioms) should remain as close to the facts as possible. His method made progress The lesser axiom in this case should be rooted in experience obtained under stringent experimental conditions.


History - Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Rules for the Direction of Mind (1619) established the framework for a scientific methods guiding principles. Discourse on Method (1637) presented the four-precepts method:

The first was never to accept anything for true which I did not

Ren Descartes (French IPA: ['ne de'kat]) (March 31, 1596 February 11, 1650), also known as Renatus Cartesius (latinized form), was a highly influential French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer.

clearly know to be such; that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitancy and prejudice, and to comprise nothing more in my judgement than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of methodical doubt. The second, to divide each of the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, and as might be necessary for its adequate solution. The third, to conduct my thoughts in such order that , by commencing with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend little by little, and, as it were, step by step, to the knowledge of the more complex And the last, in every case, to make enumerations so complete, and reviews so general, that I might be assured that nothing was omitted.

The Four Precepts (Descartes)


Both Bacon and Descartes wanted to provide a firm foundation for scientific thought that avoided the descriptions of the mind and senses. Bacon envisaged that foundation as essentially physical and factual, whereas Descartes trusted to logic and mathematics. Are these suffice as foundation for scientific thought?



Galileo Galilee and Isaac Newton

Galileo Galilei (1564 1642) was a Tuscan (Italian) physicist,

mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution.

Sir Isaac Newton

(/njutn/)(1643 1727) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. His treatise Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries and is the basis for modern engineering. He showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler's laws of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation, thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism and advancing the scientific revolution.

History - Four Rules of Reasoning

Galileo Galilei combined quantitative experimentation and mathematical analysis to permit the enunciation of general physical laws. Isaac Newton systematized these laws in the Principia, which became a model that other sciences sought to emulate. His four Rules of Reasoning are:
1. We are to admit to more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. 2. Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes. 3. The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intension nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever. 4. In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions collected by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagine, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

Why such rules? Why Newton also left an admonition about a theory of everything: To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. This is much better to do a little with certainty, and leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things.


History - Principles of Reasoning

Some methods or reasoning were systematized by John Stuart Mills Systems of Logic, which are five explicit statements of what can be discarded and whet can be kept while building a hypothesis.
Direct Method of agreement "If two or more instances of the phenomenon under investigation have only one circumstance in common, the circumstance in which alone all the instances agree, is the cause (or effect) of the given phenomenon." Method of difference If an instance in which the phenomenon under investigation occurs, and an instance in which it does not occur, have every circumstance in common save one, that one occurring only in the former; the circumstance in which alone the two instances differ, is the effect, or the cause, or an indispensable part of the cause, of the phenomenon. Joint method of agreement and difference Symbolically, the Joint method of agreement and difference can be represented as: A B C occur together with x y z A D E occur together with x y w also B C occur with y z Therefore A is the cause, or the effect, or a part of the cause of x. Method of residues If a range of factors are believed to cause a range of phenomena, and we have matched all the factors, except one, with all the phenomena, except one, then the remaining phenomenon can be attributed to the remaining factor. A B C occur together with x y z B is known to be the cause of y C is known to be the cause of z Therefore A is the cause x. John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 8 May 1873), British philosopher, Method of concomitant variations (with representing an increase): political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an A B C occur together with x y z influential liberal of the 19th century. A B C results in x ythinker z. Therefore A and x are causally connected

History - Principles of Science

George Boole and William Stanley Jevons also wrote on the principles of reasoning (cf. W.S. Jevons, 1874, 1877, The Principles of Science, 786pp.,
reprinted by Dover, 1958.)

These attempts to systematize a scientific method were faced with the Problem of Induction, which points out that inductive reasoning is not logically valid. David Hume set the difficulty out in detail. Karl Popper argued that a hypothesis must be falsifiable.

Boole (1815-1864)

Jevons (1835-1882)

Hume (1711-1776)

Sir Karl Popper (1902-1994)

No Single Scientific Method!

Difficulties with this have led to the rejection of the idea that there exists a single method that applies to all science, and that serves to distinguish science from non-science. In the past century, some statistical methods have been developed, for reasoning in the face of uncertainty, as an outgrowth of statistical hypothesis-testing to eliminate error, an echo of the program of Francis Bacons Novum Organum.
The Novum Organum is a philosophical work by Francis Bacon published in 1620. The title translates as "new instrument". This is a reference to Aristotle's work Organon which was his treatise on logic and syllogism. In Novum Organum, Bacon details a new system of logic he believes to be superior to the old ways of syllogism. For Bacon, finding the essence of a thing was a simple process of reduction. In finding the cause of a phenomenal nature such as heat, one must list all of the situations where heat is found. Then another list should be drawn up, listing situations that are similar to those of the first list except for the lack of heat. A third table lists situations where heat can vary. The form nature, or cause, of heat must be that which is common to all instances in the first table, is lacking from all instances of the second table and varies by degree in instances of the third table.


Mathematical vs. Scientific Method

George Plya's work on problem solving, the construction of mathematical proofs, and heuristic show that mathematical method and scientific method differ in detail, while resembling each other in the use of iterative or recursive steps. Mathematical method 1 Understanding 2 Analysis 3 Synthesis 4 Review/Extend Scientific method Characterization from experience & observation Hypothesis: a proposed explanation Deduction: prediction from the hypothesis Test and experiment

George Plya (1887 1985)


Confusing enough?
If you are not confused by what is: Science? Scientific Method? History of Science and Scientific Method? Philosophy of Science? Then wed need to restart again! Else, Go to the next slide.


So Is There a Scientific Method?


Scientific Research Method in Practice

Clearly, theres no singular, distinctive procedure for scientific discovery. In practice, the Scientific Research Method consists in a list of identifiable activities that are not necessarily sequential but each one describes one aspect of a continuum, and a process with which the activities are performed.
Some activities can be performed simultaneously, Some activities can be more or less dominant, or They can be re-iterated several times during the investigation. The scientific process involves 3 major (reiterate-able) phases: formulating the problem/hypothesis; conducting the investigation; publishing results.

The quality of a scientific investigation depends also on the mental aptitudes of the researchers performing the activities. These fundamental aptitudes include creativity, objectivity, logical clarity, curiosity, scrutiny, facility to analyze and synthesize, etc.

(1) Activities in the Scientific Process


Study and discuss, Recognize possible problems, Collect data; observe and describe, Analyze a given problem, divide it into sub-problems, Model a problem, Set-up an experimental environment, Formulate hypotheses, Deduce consequences, make a decision (experiment), Conduct experimentations, analyze results, test hypotheses, Develop theoretical descriptions, Write reports and/or papers, Communicate thoughts, idea, and obtained results.

Help others!!!

(2). Process
3 major phases: Collecting information (literature search) and formulating research topic / hypotheses. Conducting research (modelling, simulation, testing, collect and analyze results). Writing reports, communicating results and problems.


Formulating a Research Problem

Original problem"
Decision on the problem

Discussions:" modied problem"

Bibliographic Search

literature " or public ?" Finalize problem" Planning of tasks"


Conducting Research
Experimentation Observation

Finalize Problem Planning


Expected Model Match?



Conducting Research
Simulation Testing Experimentation Observation Data Analysis Finalize Problem Planning Modeling the Problem Expected Model Match? Evaluation

Communication Reporting


Conducting Research
Example 1: If the objective of the research concerns the development of a new, particular electronic component, the investigators would have elaborated a model of the component. When the development has progressed, a continuous evaluation of the real thing wrt. the model is performed. If both match, we can conclude that the investigation is successful. Example 2: If the objective was the precise measurement of a particular fundamental constant in the field of quantum physics, the model could be the portrait of the physical phenomena. The experiments in this case would imply a series of procedures for data collection rather than design issues.

Research Methods
Relatives to different categories of data: Method Historic documentary research, Descriptive Synthesis observational derivation, Analytical Synthesis quantifiable statistics, Experimental Method uncertainty analysis. Discussion: What are the methods most used in scientific and technical research? Why?


Publishing Results
Often considered as success criteria for a research. One publishes principally:
The results of the investigation, The obtained progress during the investigation. Relating to: The proposed theoretical model, The theory verified/evaluated by the investigation, The method or approach to resolve the problem, The analysis of collected data, The critics on the models or theories or methods proposed in the literature or public domain.

In brief, we publish discoveries (new elements of knowledge) contributing to the public corpus of knowledge of the field. Publication cab be either at scientific conferences (proceedings of the conferences) or in specialized journals where discoveries are challenged to panels of reviewers, experts in the field.

Important Elements
Teamwork Murphys Law: Nothing can be done individually. All discoveries are the fruit of teamwork. Research based upon a theory: Very interesting in terms of obtained results. Consists in the formulation of problem aiming at testing or validating / invalidating a theory in a particular domain. In a simplistic manner, a theory concerns the explanation of the behaviors of a physical event. The more powerful a theory is, the more capable it is to explain, in details or/and in diverse cases, the events or behaviors of the phenomenon to which it applies.

Required Capabilities
Different mental aptitudes are required for different stages of scientific research process: Creativity is needed in the development and clarification of a research topic. Basically in the quest for a well formulated hypothesis. Creativity = capacity to think in an imaginative and intuitive manner. Objectivity, Logic, and Reasoning with clarity is needed in the design of experiments; in the observation and evaluation of data obtained from experimentations.




Observe and Describe Relationships

Observation implies selection: A forest can be observed as a forest, not by the thousands trees; A tree can be observed in whole and not by its structures of the leaves, and branches. The interdependencies between observed elements must be wisely selected in the manner to define the most crucial relations for the investigation and not necessarily in an exhaustive manner. Observation provokes description: Observed elements can be described by their descriptive parameters, quantitatively showing evidence or quantifiable through objective metrics. Observation can also trigger curiosity that leads to originality of research.

Example: Fibonacci Series F i+1 = F i-1 + F i A series of integers, each number is the sum of the two numbers that precede its order. The first two numbers being 0 and 1. The first terms are: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,..

Fibonacci, or Lonard de Pise, celebrity mathematician for having studied the works of the algebraist Abu Kamil and for having introduced, after a comparative analysis between different systems, the Arabic Calculus and the Hinduism Calculus methods.


Golden Section or division of a segment by mean and extremes

[AB] / [BC] = [BC] / [AC]

" Golden Number

R = 0, 618 034


If we consider in the Fibonacci series the ratio between an iterm to the i+1-term, we find:
1/2 = 0, 500 000 3/5 = 0, 600 000 8/13 = 0, 615 385 21/34 = 0, 617 647 55/89 = 0, 617 978 144/233 = 0, 618 026

One can note that the resulting values approach the golden number R = 0, 618 534 In such manner, the Fibonacci series is intimately linked to the golden number in the sense that the ratio of its successive terms tends to R when these terms grows in the series. This relationship is the baseline of the infamous Fibonacci Rectangles, and of the so-called Logarithmic Spiral whose surprising schemas are uncovered in +90% of structures of natural vegetables. How could this mystery uncovered or How can we discover this nature?


Questioning all a-priori judgments, Collective judgments of scientists, when theres a substantial agreement, constitute the corpus of sciences. However, there have been cases where universal agreement was obtained upon erroneous foundations. This case occurs more often with generalization than with observation of the structure or phenomenon of the nature. It would be wise to know how to question the facts, the theories or structures that support the research by using as many evidences and neutral interpretation methods as possible. Itd be possible that some facts could be demonstrated to be wrong in the future, but theres no other means.


Open Mind
Always ready to learn new things, The pleasure to learn is part of the nature of a researcher. Taoism philosophy: Theres always someone who possesses more knowledge on any topic. Even on a topic that youre a master. Always ready to communicate your understanding of the problem, Vocation or obligation? Communication is an integral part of the job. Debates always provoke more ideas. Attention: to use with moderation!


Synthetic Mind
Synthesis helps analysis, and vice-versa, Synthesis triggers a better organization of thoughts and viceversa, A good organization of thoughts is sine qua non for communication, and that: Communication plays a very important role in research; Murphys Law: Suppressing one every two words of a text, then you would be surprised!


Capacity to Analyze
Analysis is necessary in all stages, but the need is more crucial when you face with difficulty. Problem solving capacity requires priori the aptitude to understand the problem from a large number of angles or viewpoints. Knowledge acquired from studies is normally used in problem solving where expression of problem has been transformed according to performed analysis. Clarity in analysis, and the taste on essential viewpoints to the resolution of a problem, is the proof of this capacity.