Scientific techniques can be divided in many different groups, e.g.:
- Preparative techniques
- Measurement techniques
- Analysis techniques, e.g. ones that reveal atomic or molecular composition.
- Characterization techniques, e.g. ones that measure a certain property of a material.
- Imaging techniques, e.g. microscopy
In some cases these methods have evolved into instrumental techniques that require expensive equipment. This is particularly true in sciences like physics, chemistry, and astronomy. It is customary to abbreviate the names of techniques into acronyms, although this does not hold for all of them. Particularly the advent of the computer has led to a true proliferation in the number of techniques to the point that few scientists still have a good overview over all that is available. See, for example, the list of materials analysis methods and Category:Scientific techniques.