The Scientific Method is a cyclic/iterative process of continuous improvement:
[Based on General Theories,] Make Observations: What do I see in nature? This can be from one's own experiences, thoughts, or reading.
Think of Interesting Questions: Why does that pattern occur?
Formulate Hypotheses: What are the general causes of the phenomenon I am wondering about?
Develop Testable Predictions: If my hypothesis is correct, then I expect a, b, c, ...
Gather Data to Test Predictions: Relevant data can come from the literature, new observations or formal experiments. Thorough testing requires replication to verify results.
Refine, Alter, Expand or Reject the Hypothesis and Develop New Testable Predictions
Develop General Theories: These must be consistent with most or all available data and with other current theories.