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Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal
SJR: 0.123

ISSN Print: 2151-805X
ISSN Online: 2151-8068

Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal

DOI: 10.1615/EthicsBiologyEngMed.v1.i4.70
pages 293-318

The Scientific Method in an Era of Advocacy

Paul J. Lioy
Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey; and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Daniel A. Vallero
Duke University, Durham, NC 27708


The scientific method is the standard approach used in conducting experiments that seek to prove or disprove scientific hypotheses and theories. The roots and applications of the method are examined herein from a bioethical perspective. Examples are outlined throughout the discussion, and the methods of funded science are reviewed from the standpoint of the need for innovation and discovery. Current challenges to science and the application of the scientific method are presented as they relate the approaches employed to solving major scientific problems. The essay also provides some insights into the need to improve approaches for examining the value of the vast amounts of information being gathered in all areas of science and engineering before one attempts to draw conclusions on superficially analyzed data sets. The discussion concludes with observations and recommendations about the steps needed to ensure the role of the scientific method in discovery.