Could Sherlock Holmes Have Been a Good Geologist?/Introduction

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search
" ‑ I can't explain how I miss it‑
said the Inspector with expression of nuisance.
‑ It was invisible because it was buried in the mud.
If I discovered it, was because I was looking for it."
Sherlock Holmes, in "The Silver Star"

Observation is the basis of all the empiric procedures and is the most elemental form of the scientific knowledge. There isn't any specialty or branch of the sciences where measurements, descriptions or observations in the broad sense of the word, are not carried out. The correct observation of a phenomenon contributes to its better comprehension, also allowing a more rational and effective orientation of the investigation.

A scientific observation not only should supply information about the investigated object, but it must also provoke the formulation of new problems or should reveal new facets of the same problem.

In this paper, we show that observation is an interpretive process and we argue its cyclical character, suggesting the steps to follow during the observation of a phenomenon. We believe it is imperative that the researcher possesses at least an hypothesis or initial idea about of the process under study before beginning its analysis. This way the objective of the observation is reduced to verify the certainty of the hypothesis, on the basis of only a few observations.

Now, the question that needs to be answered is "How can I achieve a correct observation?"