Physics experiments can range from a simple tossing of a ball to experiments on Bose-Einstein Condensate. The field of physics is vast with a wide range of different research occurring. Regardless of the level of experiment that occurs, the scientific method needs to be followed. This method has been followed for thousands of years. It relied on the principle that science builds on previous knowledge to improve the understanding of the world. The scientific method is as followed:
Formulation of a question – This involves researching previous evidence from other scientists, if the answer is already known a different question that builds on the previously found information can be posed.
Hypothesis – A conjecture based on the knowledge obtained while formulating the question.
Prediction – Determining the logical consequences of the hypothesis. The less likely the prediction would be correct, the stronger the evidence it would be if the prediction were fulfilled. Evidence is also stronger if the answer to the prediction is not already known. The prediction must distinguish the hypothesis from likely alternatives.
Testing – The investigation of whether the real world behaves as the predicted hypothesis states. This occurs by conducting experiments. If the experimental findings agree with the hypothesis, the confidence in the hypothesis increases. Although, agreement does not assure the hypothesis is true.
Analysis – Analysis involves determining what the result of the experiment shows. From the analysis, other actions may be taken regarding formulating a more complete answer. The prediction of the hypothesis is compared to determine which is better able to explain the data collected. At this stage, the experiment is either finished or goes back to formulating a new question.
For some complex experiments, the scientific method is a cyclic process which can have several iterations. The goal is the gain knowledge in the form of a testable explanation that can predict the results of future experiments.