The first step in the scientific method involves being curious, asking yourself a question, and creating a hypothesis or educated guess about the answer.
Suppose a person is holding a bowling ball and a feather, and wants to find out which one will hit the ground first if both are dropped from the same height at the same time. First, the person would develop a hypothesis... "I believe that the bowling ball will hit the ground before the feather if I drop them both from the same height at the same time."
Observation
Next, the person would drop the bowling ball and the feather a number of times, observing which falls first each time
Data Collection
The person collecting data writes down which object falls first each time.
Data Analysis
After dropping the ball and the feather five times, the person then adds the number of times that each object hit the floor first, for example:
Bowling Ball
1
1
1
1
1
5 
Feather
0
0
0
0
0
0 
Conclusions
Finally, after demonstrating that the bowling ball hit the floor first all five times, the person is able to conclude that their hypothesis seems to be correctthe bowling ball DOES hit the ground first! So, often times data is collected to evaluate a hypothesis and the analysis of the data is used to prove or disprove a hypothesis.
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