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Science--Methodology; Observation (Scientific method)


Does science follow some sort of standard procedure, something that can be specified and communicated? Three centuries ago, Francis Bacon prophesied confidently that such a procedure could be devised so that the whole business of science could be done "as though by machinery." In the years between, scientific research has grown from an obscure and unrecognized undertaking of a handful of virtuosos to a massive and concerted endeavor on the part of hundreds of thousands of persons . What has made such a fantastic expansion possible in such a short time? Is it that people have been taught the steps by which science is carried on, so that they can go off and carry research further on their own? This is the impression given by many elementary textbooks of science; indeed, this "Baconian" view of science is found on occasion among those who are themselves distinguished for their scientific work.

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