In the design of experiments , two or more "treatments" are applied to estimate the difference between the mean responses for the treatments. For example, an experiment on baking bread could estimate the difference in the responses associated with quantitative variables, such as the ratio of water to flour, and with qualitative variables, such as strains of yeast. Experimentation is the step in the scientific method that helps people decide between two or more competing explanations – or hypotheses . These hypotheses suggest reasons to explain a phenomenon, or predict the results of an action. An example might be the hypothesis that "if I release this ball, it will fall to the floor": this suggestion can then be tested by carrying out the experiment of letting go of the ball, and observing the results. Formally, a hypothesis is compared against its opposite or null hypothesis ("if I release this ball, it will not fall to the floor"). The null hypothesis is that there is no explanation or predictive power of the phenomenon through the reasoning that is being investigated. Once hypotheses are defined, an experiment can be carried out and the results analysed to confirm, refute, or define the accuracy of the hypotheses.
In many disciplines, Western methods of conducting research are predominant.  Researchers are overwhelmingly taught Western methods of data collection and study. The increasing participation of indigenous peoples as researchers has brought increased attention to the lacuna in culturally-sensitive methods of data collection. Non-Western methods of data collection may not be the most accurate or relevant for research on non-Western societies. For example, " Hua Oranga " was created as a criterion for psychological evaluation in Māori populations, and is based on dimensions of mental health important to the Māori people – "taha wairua (the spiritual dimension), taha hinengaro (the mental dimension), taha tinana (the physical dimension), and taha whanau (the family dimension)".