The greatest invention in humanity is the scientific method.
It’s the base where all knowledge is gained. This process has helped humans expand and grow at an unbelievably fast pace.
If you’re unfamiliar – the scientific method is a method for solving problems. Plain and simple.
It operates like this:
- State the problem
- Hypothesize as to the cause of the problem
- Design experiment to test the validity of the problem
- Predict the results of the experiment
- Observe the results
- Derive a conclusion from the results
For the longest time I looked at the scientific method as only a way to conduct research. I honestly didn’t know how to apply it outside of school (where I don’t think school does a good job of actually teaching the usefulness of this method).
Personally, I’ve been using this method for every area in my life. It might seem laughable, but I even use the method for simple problems to help ingrain the habit.
Here’s a personal example…
I was dealing with issues with my title tag for my website. I was making changes to the general settings in the backend of WordPress, but it wasn’t updating for the site.
No matter what I did the title tag wouldn’t change to what I wanted.
Instead of getting frustrated and giving up on the problem (remember, all problems are soluble), I paused for a bit and started to apply a little scientific method.
Step 1: State the problem.
My title tag won’t change when I update it.
Step 2: Form a hypothesis to determine the cause
Here were a couple options:
- WordPress was broken
- My settings are incorrect
Side Note: at this stage something really interesting happens. You’ll begin criticising the hypotheses to determine which one is most likely the answer. This is an important part because it helps you spend less time!
Of the two options, I was very skeptical that my wordpress was broken. Everything else on the site was working perfectly fine, so that led me to believe my settings were incorrect.
Step 3: Design the experiment
Now I needed to figure out an experiment to test if the settings were incorrect. The way I thought through this was to look into the backend code to see if there was something overriding the general settings.
Step 4: Predict the results
I was fairly confident the backend would tell me what was going on.
Side Note: all of these steps were essentially done on paper. It wasn’t until I had predicted the results that I actually performed the test to see.
Step 5: Observe the results
Sure enough I was correct! In the backend I was able to see that my Yoast plugin was set up to have my page settings override the general settings.
Once I found this, I was able to go make the proper change to the page portion instead of the general settings within WordPress.
This completely solved the problem!
Step 6: Conclude from the results
I concluded this must be the case for all the pages, so it’s something I’ll need to be aware of moving forward.
I just gained new knowledge. I’ll never forget this because I was actually able to derive the correct answer via the scientific method.
Personally, it’s more impactful doing this for your problems because you’ll be much more precise.
You’ll also waste less time too.
Hopefully this sparks some good ideas for you if you’re dealing with any problems solving problems!