What does scientifically mean

Science? What's this?

What does that mean: scientific? This article provides some starting points for further reflection.

What does that mean: scientific? If you do not have an answer to this question, you cannot write a scientific paper or scientific text.

To answer the question what scientific means, proceed as you will proceed with many definitions and analyzes in the future. Use your mental magnifying glass.

Pick up a dictionary. You don't have one? Sad. Then use Canoo. Scientific is an adjective, that's what Canoo.net says. You want to know even more: The vocabulary portal of the University of Leipzig even gives synonyms for the word - academic, subject-specific teaching; but also methodical, impractical, speculative, theoretical.

And what does Wikipedia say? You read that right: Scientists are also allowed to use Wikipedia! Wikipedia often gives you a good approximation of a topic that you shouldn't miss. You should not only use Wikipedia critically, but also all texts that you will come across as a scientist.

Wikipedia will not only define the term science for you, but will also refer you to other literature, such as Max Weber's lecture “Science as a Profession” (in this context Weber's lecture is often “linked”, both online and offline; read it to find out why others think it is so important).

In a kind of pyramid scheme, you get closer and closer to a definition of your term. Analyze the word itself, look it up in foreign dictionaries, in ethymological dictionaries, in specialist lexicons. How do others define this term: science?

This is exactly what makes up a large part of science. The facilitation of communication through common definitions, a common language. The idea behind it: If everyone explains what they actually mean by certain terms, this inevitably reduces misunderstandings. This is because these often arise because in the conversation you assume that your counterpart, for example your boyfriend or girlfriend, will use the terms you use, e.g. B. Love, does not understand what you understand. One thinks "love" is something that happens to you again. The other for an activity that is being carried out. But both call it "love".

If you are concerned with what science is and what is scientific and what is scientific derived from it, sooner or later you will come across Umberto Eco, who lists the requirements for scientificity in his "frequently linked" book "How to write a scientific thesis". A scientific investigation is characterized by the following points (Eco 2007, p. 40 ff.).

  • "The investigation deals with a recognizable object that is so precisely outlined that it can also be recognized by third parties."
  • "The investigation must say things about this subject that have not yet been said, or it must see things that have already been said from a new angle."
  • "The investigation must be of use to others."
  • "The investigation must contain the information that makes it possible to check whether your hypotheses are wrong or correct, so it must contain the information that makes it possible to continue the debate in the scientific community."

And what is a scientific text now? Scientific papers or texts can be roughly divided into theoretical and empirical papers. Empirical work documents a research, a research project, in which an object, as the name suggests, was examined empirically, i.e. through perception, observation, experiment.

Theoretical works investigate develop and reject or confirm their theses mostly in an abstract way, they analyze existing texts and theses and bring themselves into context with them.

Different types of scientific texts with different intentions have evolved over time. These will be discussed in the following chapter.


Tip: Do not only deal in detail with the lexicons of your subject area, but also with those of related subject areas. Examine terms for their history, grammatical usage, etc. Study what a term is.

More info

  • Wikipedia
  • Canoo.net (Canoo is a great way to quickly parse words online from a grammatical perspective.)
  • wortschatz.uni-leipzig.de (vocabulary portal of the University of Leipzig, even more precise analysis than Canoo)