How to think like a Scientist

Ever wondered how scientists think? Science is a metal toolbox for solving problems. These tools make you powerful and can be used in everyday life. Although these tools might seem difficult but are simpler and used by scientists. Today with reference to Liam Mannix’s article published in The Sydney Morning Herald, we would like to throw some light on how scientists think and how you can borrow their tricks.

Scientific thinking is considered to be one of the best approaches to competitive thinking. To illustrate with an example, earlier it was believed by Plato that the Sun revolves around the Earth. However, with the scientific approach mixed with data and shreds of evidence, Galileo Galilei proved that Earth revolves around the Sun.

To simplify the process and get going with the scientific approach, the following steps can be taken:

  1. Start with an open mind
    It is critical to approach a problem with an open mind. If you already believe that you have the solution, the probability of you being receptive to new information would be quite low. Scientific thinking demands us to acknowledge questions that we typically don’t know the answers to. Being adaptive is also a part of open-mindedness and accepting change. If you’ve made a strong case for something, deciding to reconsider can feel like a backflip. It is not a comfortable situation to be in, though, if the evidence changes but you don’t change your beliefs.
  2. Be skeptical
    To have doubts is a counterbalance to having an open mind. There is the presence of a vast majority of ideas but proving them is the task. Be it companies’ claims for their products or the government on their policies, always ask them to prove it. We were skeptical about the Covid-19 drugs until their benefits were proven. Associate Professor Darren Saunders, a cancer biologist, argues that one should always be skeptical of people with agendas.
  3. Accept uncertainty
    The universe is a vast place, and there are certain things we don’t know and can’t explain. There is a need to embrace uncertainty. Darren Saunders, the Associate Professor states how the most valuable learning he gained was to accept the grey areas with uncertainty and wait for evidence without making a snap decision based on gut feeling and regretting it later. He explains that with the Covid-19 outbreak, everyone wanted to know its fate and whether it would turn into a large outbreak. However, the fact is, at the start of an outbreak, we will never know.
  4. Assemble you data
    To support any idea, problem, hypothesis, or finding, we need a pillar of data, working on your research and finding out the possible data that approves or disapproves it. To put it simply, take Professor Bragge’s experience when it came to buying a webcam, he acted as if he knew nothing about webcams and compared all his options across different parameters of quality, price, and reviews to find the best one. Thus, supporting his decision based on data.
  5. Develop a hypothesis
    “A hypothesis is a theory about the world.”
    To conclude, it is necessary to ask yourself if the data you collected does justice to the theories. It is important to divide the facts equally if you have more than one theory. A good hypothesis can be refuted. The claims made should be able to be put on a test and proven.

An amalgamation of all these steps brings us closer to the scientific approach to thinking and applying the framework in day-to-day practice.

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