When I was taking Science courses, even just in High-School, one of the subjects which we were taught very early, was what the Scientific Method consists of.
Now, our version then might have been dumbed-down a little bit, or, since then, the exact definition may have been refined. But this is essentially what we were taught, the method consists of:
- A party observes a Phenomenon, which deserves explanation. This could be a newly-discovered phenomenon, as easily as it could be a commonly-known phenomenon, which is thought to deserve a better explanation than the commonly-accepted explanation.
- The party formulates a Hypothesis, to explain this phenomenon.
- The party suggests and / or devises an Experiment, which will either confirm or disprove that hypothesis.
- The party carries out that experiment and records the Results.
- If the results confirm the hypothesis, the party next Shares these results with the Community.
- Someplace else in the Scientific Community, another party attempts to carry out either the same experiment, or an equivalent experiment, the purpose of which are, to try to Reproduce the results obtained by the first party.
- If the other parties are able to confirm the results, the hypothesis is Promoted to having the status of a Theory.
In Science, a theory is about as good as a set of facts, only, a theory is a set of rules, which can predict the outcome of events under given conditions, and with which Scientists can attempt to explain other phenomena.