The “scientific method refers to a standardized set of techniques for building scientific knowledge, such as how to make valid observations, how to interpret results and to generalize results. [It] allows researchers to independently and impartially test preexisting theories and prior findings” (Bhattacherjee, 2012, p.5). It has the same objectives with research, which investigates and studies different materials and sources in the pursuit of advancing knowledge. A researcher tests his or her hypothesis by subjecting it to careful scrutiny and debate and finally comes up with a conclusion that either validates or disproves the hypothesis.
In the field of social science, research is an indispensable tool in addressing social issues and problems. Through research, a social scientist can try to find answers to questions like: What is poverty? Who are the poor? Why does poverty exist in society? How can society best address or solve the problem of poverty?
In pursuing research, the use of scientific method is required. The steps in the scientific method (Rajasekharan, 2013) are as follows:
- Defining the problem
- Reviewing the literature
- Forming hypothesis
- Collecting and analyzing data
- Drawing conclusions
The application of the scientific method to social science research simply involves the use of its steps or procedures to specific research interests. The stages of the research process (Garg, 2012) below can serve as a guide in pursuing research.