Nysgjerrigper's six steps to research
Since 1990, thousands of elementary school children have submitted projects to Nysgjerrigper's Annual Science Contest. Nysgjerrigper's research method has high priority. The method is a simplified version of the hypothetical deductive method of research.
1. I wonder why
You can wonder about absolutely anything! In fact, a curious scientist questions pretty much everything. Write your question down on. It is really important to your research that you learn to ask good questions, so take your time at this stage. Maybe it would be a good idea to start by asking a question that can be answered right there in your own home town?
2. Why is it like this?
Try to figure out the answer to your question by asking: What might the cause be? Can it be because…? This is called a hypothesis, which is like a 'possible' explanation. A hypothesis can also be a statement. You can then do further research to determine whether it is true or false. But don't be surprised if you come up with several explanations (hypotheses)!
3. Draw up a plan
The time has now come to draw up a plan for your research. The purpose is to find out how correct your hypotheses are while you learn more about your subject. You might ask: Where can I get more information? How should I do my research? Who can I ask? You can take pictures, interview somebody who knows a lot about the subject, search the Internet, visit a museum, go on a field trip or do your own experiments and observations (to observe means to watch something and pay attention to what you see).
4. Gathering information
You have to gather information that is related to your hypotheses. You'll need information that might support your hypotheses, and information that can prove them wrong! You should observe, count and measure, call, read, write, ask and investigate. Maybe you even have some new ideas about how to get more information, or maybe your need to make new hypotheses. If so, you're working like a scientist!
5. What we found out
After doing your research, you have to summarise what you found out, and see if your hypotheses were correct. If you fail to get any further and all of your hypotheses seem wrong, go back to point 2. Try to come up with new hypotheses and conduct new experiments. Your results might lead to new questions that bring you closer to the answer you are looking for. Showing that one or more of your hypotheses are wrong, that is, disproving a hypothesis is just as important as confirming one. Research will always bring you further in one way or another!
6. Tell everyone else
Once you are done with your research, it is time to tell other people what you have found out and how you have worked. Write, draw or use other means to present your work. Your project can be presented by making a brochure, writing an article in a newspaper, or maybe making a proposal to your local authorities. Scientists have to present information that shows how they reached their conclusions, that is, they have to provide proof of their results.