What Are the Different Types of Scientific Methods?

August 4, 2019
In this article, you’ll learn about the most popular scientific methods.

You can use scientific methods to get answers and define and organize an investigation. As a means of cognition, scientific methods reflect the object of your study. In methodology, scientific methods can be empirical or theoretical.

On one hand, you can use empirical methods to discover and accumulate data and facts, as a basis to prove a hypothesis, answering scientific questions, having a foundation to discuss something, or just to follow a subject guide. However, some methods aren’t deep enough to really dig into the essential relations seen in teaching processes.

The rational methods let you systematize and analyze the results you got with an empirical method. Thus, these scientific methods can help you draw conclusions towards a scientific problem. Empirical methods can give you cues to elaborate theories while using rational methods.

Scientific methods are used every day.

The Different Types of Scientific Methods

Rational methods are classified according to how you use them in an investigation. Some of them are:

Analytic-Synthetic Method

The analytic-synthetic methods refers to the analysis and synthesis processes. An analysis is a logical process that helps you to mentally break down a whole and its qualities, its multiple relations, properties, and components.

On the contrary, the synthesis process establishes a combination of the previously analyzed parts. Thus, it lets you uncover the general relations and characteristics between the elements of the subject.

The analysis and synthesis processes work as a dialectic unit. During research, one can dominate the other, depending on where you are in your research. Likewise, use this method to search and process information.

The Inductive-Deductive Method

Mainly, this method represents two opposite processes: induction and deduction. The induction process reasons from the data of particular cases to broader knowledge. This knowledge reflects what these cases have in common.

The ground basis for the deduction process is fact and phenomena replications in reality. English philosopher Francis Bacon was the first to propose induction as a research method. Bacon said that if you want to gain knowledge, observe nature. With that, you need to gather data and make generalizations from that.

Nowadays, this process is called inductive reasoning and it follows these steps:

  • Observation
  • Formulations
  • Verification
  • Thesis
  • Law
  • Theory

Thus, induction and deduction complement each other. Through induction, you can establish generalizations through whatever your case studies have in common. Then, stemming from these generalizations, you deduct several logical conclusions. Through induction, these conclusions are enriched generalizations that form a didactic unit.

Hypothetico-Deductive Method

The hypothetico-deductive method starts with hypotheses. These are based on principles or laws, or established through empirical data. Thus, applying deduction techniques, you reach predictions you can verify through empirical verification. For example, this method is seen in clinical diagnoses.

Historical-Logical Method

To discover the essence of things, logic needs history. Somehow, this method allows you to describe the facts through their logical development. You can use this method to investigate the scientific problem’s background information.

Scientific methods can help you find answers in every aspect of life.

The Genetic Method

This method’s used when you’re studying an object’s evolution and the factors that condition that evolution. Through research, you can also do a cross-sectional study.

An Analogy and Analogical Method

It consists of inferring relationships or consequences among similar phenomena. You can use this method to create new knowledge. For example, using this method, you could infer similar consequences among similar historical time periods.

Modeling Method

Through the modeling method, you can create models to investigate reality. First, define the object you’re going to study. Once you’ve got this, you’ve got to separate the essentials from the non-essentials, regarding your subject of study. Thus, you can establish a clear idea of the object’s essence, and that abstraction from reality is your model.

The Systemic-Functional Method

To Aristotle, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is due to interactions among parts had qualities that weren’t a part of the mechanical sum of the qualities of each separate part. This method is based on that, built to create new knowledge.

The Systematization Method

This method’s linked to the scientific method’s development. Mainly, this method is used in data or information’s systematization or in the systematization of experiences.

Researchers making use of experimental psychology methods.

Thus, this classification of scientific methods according to what they’re used for in research can be summed up in two ways. First, you have the research methods. This means all the empirical methods, the analytical-synthetic method, the historical-logical method, the genetic method, and the systematization of information.

On the other hand, there are methods to create new knowledge. Among these, you can find the hypothetico-deductive method, the analogical method, systematization, the inductive-deductive method, the modeling method, and the systemic-functional method.

In short, take two things into account. First, a perfect methodology doesn’t exist. Some are safer than others, but also slower. Others are more fallible than others, but also faster to draw conclusions from. Second, understand that knowledge is as important as the method it’s derived from.

  1. Rodríguez Jiménez, A., Jacinto, P., & Omar, A. (2017). Métodos científicos de indagación y de construcción del conocimiento. Revista EAN, (82), 179-200.
  2. Dávila Newman, G. (2006). El razonamiento inductivo y deductivo dentro del proceso investigativo en ciencias experimentales y sociales. Laurus, 12, 180-205.
  3. Behar Rivero, D. S. (2008). Introducción a la metodología de la investigación. Shalom.