Wolfs (2013), describes the scientific method as the process of creating a reliable and consistent representation of a theory or hypothesis by actively eliminating all personal prejudice and bias from the person researching the theory, using the observation-hypothesis-prediction-experiment model. It involves the observation and description of a phenomenon followed by formulation of a hypothesis to explain that phenomenon. By using this hypothesis, the scientist attempts to predict the existence of new phenomenon especially as pertains to new observations. Finally, other independent scientists perform further and deeper experiments on these predictions.
The scientific method was important in the technological advances realized during the Industrial Revolution because it helped developers of new technology to test and improve on their innovations. For example, Montagna (2014) argues asserts that prior to the 1700s, the textile industry in the UK depended fully on manual production. In the 1700s, John Kay developed the Flying Shuttle that improved the efficiency of one spinner two-fold. To improve on this, Lewis Paul made the roller spinner that greatly enhanced the spinning process. Richard Arkwright perfected this innovation later. Clearly these innovators applied the scientific method in creating, testing and improving on tools that enhanced production.
In the absence of the scientific method, the creation and advancement of technology would be heavily curtailed. The scientific method reveals how one phenomenon affects or creates new phenomenon. For example, according to Montagna (2014), innovations of mechanized agriculture helped to improve cotton and wool production, both important raw materials for the textile industry. This spurred innovation in both agricultural and textile innovations. Again, as discussed above, new technology usually results from improving older technology as evidenced by Richard Arkwright’s work. The scientific method provides the channel through which scientists observe existing technologies, and design improvements on them, or create totally new innovations inspired by the older innovation.
Despite its visible benefits, Wolfs (2013) argues that the scientific method works only in situations where the scientist is able to identify a specific phenomenon and thus be able to test and re-test it. In the absence of such a situation, the scientific method is not applicable especially with dynamic and soft human systems. He gives the example of a lawyer and a court of law. A lawyer does not have the liberty to keep presenting divergent arguments about the same case by re-running the trial several times.
Montagna, J.A. (2014). The Industrial Revolution. Contents of Curriculum Unit 81.02.08 Yale New Haven Teachers Institute. Retrieved 21 March 2014, from http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1981/2/81.02.06.x.html
Wolfs, F.L.H. (2013). APPENDIX E: Introduction to the Scientific Method. Retrieved 21 March 2014, from, http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html