To start, let’s pay attention to the above illustration. As you can see the illustration consists of stages. The first stage is called evidence, the second stage is called induction, the third is called generalization, and fourth is called deduction.
How do scientists generate knowledge?
Scientists generate knowledge by gathering evidence. This evidence is gathered through experiments and observations. Once the evidence is gathered, scientists move into the induction stage.
What is induction?
Induction is a technique in which pieces of evidence are examined to discover patterns. Once patterns are discovered, scientists move into the generalization stage.
Under the generalization stage, what do scientists do?
Scientists try to propose laws, hypothesis, or theories in response to the patterns discovered under the induction stage.
What does it take to transition from the induction stage to the generalization stage?
Usually, it takes four qualities, these qualities are imagination, creativity, perseverance and prior knowledge. These qualities are often necessary to interpret evidence to generate laws or theories. Because of this, moving from induction to generalization is usually called the creative leap. Once laws or theories are invented, scientists then move into the deduction stage.
Under deduction what do scientists do?
Scientists predict situations based on the invented laws or theories. These predictions are then tested through experiments or observations and evidence gathered, and again examined for patterns.
If the patterns discovered are consistent with the laws or theories, then, the laws or theories are confirmed and valid.
If the patterns are inconsistent with the laws or theories, then, the laws or theories are invalid, and would need to be revised. So, as you can see, science is a way of understanding the natural world. In the light of new evidence, scientists, usually, are willing to revise scientific laws or theories.
So, when doing general chemistry activities in the lab, you should apply the four qualities mentioned and you should be willing to revise your conclusions to agree with your evidence.
Here is a video discussing the various stages scientists go through to generate knowledge