Thursday, May 7, 2009

Scientific Method and Problem Solving

In the scientific method one suggests a hypothesis and then tries to find evidence disproving it. Failure to find evidence that refutes the theory means the theory is true.

This approach is a more robust method of problem solving than suggesting a solution (hypothesis) and then doing experiments to support it.

As Heuer points out in Chapter 4 of his book, a hypothesis (solution) can never be proven by even a large body of evidence since many hypotheses may be consistent with the evidence, but a single instance of incompatible evidence is enough to sink a hypothesis.

When suggesting solutions, plan some experiments that seek to disprove them. If you are unable to cause your solution to fail deliberately, it will be that much stronger.

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