The term method derives from the Greek meta and odos meaning following after, suggesting the idea of order. Applied to science, method suggests the efficient, systematic ordering of inquiry. Scientific method, then, describes a sequence of actions that constitute a strategy to achieve one or more research goals. Relatedly, scientific methodology denotes the general study of scientific methods and forms the basis for a proper understanding of those methods.

Modern science is a multifaceted endeavor. A full appreciation of its nature needs to consider the aims it pursues, the theories it produces, the methods it employs, and the institutions in which it is embedded. Although all these features are integral to science, science is most illuminatingly characterized as method. Method is central to science because much ...

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