What's the status of the so-called "scientific method" among philosophers of science these days?
I realize that there are and have been many different methods employed in what we call or want to call scientific investigation, so I appreciate how misleading the singular term might be.
But, with that caveat in mind, in school and elsewhere you hear all about this great 'method' we've established. And certainly scientists take themselves to know and share some activity. To put a finer point on this question, let me sketch what I get the impression this 'method' looks like:
1) It's empirical, that is, it involves observation and experimentation.
2) The scientist makes some initial observations, forms a hypothesis, deduces some predictions from it, then designs and performs a "controlled experiment" to "test" them. This experiment is done by attempting to identify variables, some independent, one dependent to ensure (obviously with fallibility) that the appropriate relationship/conditions are being tested.
3) The scientists then draws conclusions about other phenomena based on these results, including positing causal relations and general laws to "explain" the predicted regularities observed. Unless his hypothesis is "falsified", in which case it's back to the (holistic) drawing board.
I notice, so sketched, that "the method" involves both 'inductive' and 'hypothetico-deductive' reasoning. What do you make of this? Is that what I've sometimes heard called "rational empiricism"?
Are there meaninful generalizations we can make about "scientific method" that might help us identify it and understand the meaning of its results?