Horton and hunt have given followings nine characteristics of scientific method:
1. Verifiable evidence i e, factual observations which other observers can see and check.
2. Accuracy i, e, describing what really exists. It means truth or correctness of a statement or describing things exactly as they are and avoiding jumping to unwarranted conclusions either by exaggeration or fantasizing.
3. Precision i ,e making it as exact as necessary or giving exact number or measurement. Instead of saying I interviewed a large number of people one says I interviewed 493 persons. Instead of saying every moment one is born every moment dies a man one says thirty person are born in one minute in India. Thus in scientific precision one avoids colourful literature and vague meanings. How much precision is needed in social science will depend upon what the situation requires.
4. Systematization i, e, attempting to find all the relevant data, or collecting data in systematic and organized way so that the conclusions drawn are reliable. Data based on casual recollections are generally incomplete and give unreliable judgments and conclusions.
5. Objectives i ,e being free form all biases and vested interests. It means observation is unaffected by the observer s values beliefs and preferences to the extent possible and he is able to see and accept as they are not as he might wish them to be. The researcher remains detached from his emotions prejudices and needs and guards his biases. A bias is an unconscious tendency to see facts in a certain way because of one wishes interests and values. For example the protest demonstration of students in a university may be perceived by some as a logical effort for the welfare of the students while others may see it as a misguided methods of getting the grievances mitigated. The researcher who wants to see it objectively will present all facts and views of students teachers administrators etc. He will neither attempt to overlook some facts deliberately nor emphasize some other facts as he himself will not be emotionally involved in the situation. He will make conscious effort to be accurate in information he collects or what h hears and sees. As an objective researcher he will have no vested interest in reporting and analyzing facts.
6. Recording i. e, jotting down complete details as quickly as possible. Since human memory is fallible all data collected are recorded. Researcher will not depend on the recalled facts but will unrecorded data are not trustworthy.
7. Controlling conditions i, e, controlling all variables except one and then attempting to example what happens when variable is varied. This is the basic techniques in all scientific experimentation allowing one variable to vary while holding all other variables consent. Unless all variables except one have been controlled we cannot be sure which variable has produced the results. Though a physical scientist is able to control as many variables as he wishes in an experiment he conducts in the laboratory ( say heat light air pressure time interval etc) but a social scientist cannot control all variables as wishes. He functions under many constraints.
8. Training Investigators i, e, imparting necessary knowledge to investigator to make them understand what to look for how to interpret it and avoid inaccurate data collection. When some remarkable observations are reported the scientist first tries to know what is the observer level of education training and sophistication? Does he really understand facts he reports? The scientists are always impressed by authenticated reports.