Want to think like a scientist? Looking to one day work in a STEM field? Then, there are a number of different habits you will want to develop before that can happen. Some of these habits may surprise you and almost seem counter-intuitive. Not to worry. Be assured that adopting these important habits will lead you to begin thinking like a real scientist.
7 Habits for Learning to Think Like a Scientist
1. Learn from mistakes. Don’t be afraid to fail. Instead, consider unsuccessful results as opportunities to learn, modify, and improve what you do the NEXT time.
2. Always consider a CREATIVE approach to a problem you seek to solve.
3. Minimize any bias or prejudices you may have about the subject at hand. Use an integrated method in your efforts. As a result, the eventual outcome of your actions will be truthful and free of manipulation.
4. It’s acceptable to guess. After all, a hypothesis is an educated guess. At the same time, always check to ensure that your guesses and assumptions are correct.
5. Keep asking HOW and WHY to arrive at what is true. To fully comprehend and gain important insights into scientific work, it is most important to continually ask questions.
6. Always collaborate. Working alone does not invite the best outcomes. It has been proven that teams, however small, work more efficiently and accurately as well as help to avoid bias. Two or more brains are much better than one when problem solving.
7. Always discuss and debate the information and outcomes discovered. You might be surprised at the added input from colleagues, mentors and other knowledgeable individuals who can impact your work.
To conclude, if you want to be a scientist, you will need to THINK like a scientist. Begin now to ask meaningful questions in your STEM classes (or ANY class, for that matter). Use any mistakes made as springboards to learning DIFFERENTLY and BETTER next time. Remember that failure is proof that you are trying,
In addition, remove bias from your critical thinking when working with hypotheses and scientific work (and elsewhere, too!) Work with other like-minded and committed individuals who will bring their own knowledge and experiences to any project you undertake together. This will only enrich your work and help avoid prejudices, too.
Finally, learn from others as you talk about hypotheses, discoveries, outcomes and more. Discuss and debate findings and facts as well as resulting opinions. If you develop these seven habits, you will be WELL on your way to not only THINKING like a scientist but BECOMING a scientist.
Infographic: 7 Habits How to Learn to Think Like a Scientist – from eLearningInfographics.com
How to Think Like a Scientist: A Crash Course – by Erin Peterson, Cedars-Sinai
Why Thinking Like a Scientist Is Good for You – by Jill Suttie, The Greater Good Science Center at UCB