Scientific Inquiry: Invention and Test Four Levels

Four Levels of Scientific Inquiry: Invention and Test

Following are the four levels of the essay Scientific Inquiry: Invention and Test,

Literal Comprehension

The essay by Carl G. Hempel delves into the scientific inquiry process, using Ignaz Semmelweis’ investigation into childhood fever as a case study. It recounts Semmelweis’ efforts to reduce mortality rates among pregnant women in the first maternity section of a hospital.

Despite various attempts, including limiting the number of medical students and altering practices, Semmelweis initially struggled to find a solution.

However, after a colleague’s death from a minor wound, Semmelweis discovered that improper hand hygiene among medical personnel was the root cause of the issue.

Implementing handwashing protocols led to a significant reduction in mortality rates, demonstrating the importance of hygiene in healthcare settings.


The essay underscores the methodical nature of scientific inquiry, emphasizing the sequential process of hypothesis formulation, testing, and conclusion drawing.

Through Semmelweis’ example, the author highlights the significance of careful observation and critical thinking in scientific investigations.

Furthermore, the essay suggests that scientific inquiry requires perseverance and a systematic approach to problem-solving, with each step building upon the last.

Critical Thinking

By detailing Semmelweis’ challenges and eventual breakthroughs, the essay encourages readers to reflect on the broader implications of scientific research in addressing pressing issues.

It emphasizes the need for evidence-based approaches and systematic methodologies in tackling complex problems, such as infectious diseases. Moreover, the essay prompts a critical examination of the role of scientific inquiry in advancing public health and addressing societal challenges.


Reading the essay prompts readers to draw parallels between Semmelweis’ investigation and modern-day healthcare challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing relevance of scientific inquiry in combating infectious diseases and improving patient outcomes.

Additionally, the essay highlights the importance of adhering to established protocols and guidelines in medical practice to ensure the safety and well-being of patients. Overall, it underscores the transformative potential of scientific research in addressing real-world problems and driving progress in healthcare.

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