From an interview with David Eagleman that perfectly describes the scientific process and how it is most often fictionalized:
Essentially, this is the heart of science. We always come up with hypotheses and we bring evidence in to weigh for or against those hypotheses. And in science, of course, we never even talk about truth or proofs. We talk about where the weight of evidence suggests at the moment, you know, what we think is the best narrative at the moment. And so, you know, there’s this illusion that all of us learn in high school where we look in textbooks and science seems to proceed in a linear lockstep manner where so-and-so discovers this and then the next person and so on. But science never proceeds that way. Every major advance in science has been a creative leap where someone says, well, gosh, what this really strange story were true? And then what you do is you make a lot of these leaps and you look back to see if you can build a bridge back to what we already know in science. And when you can that’s progress. And when you can’t that’s an interesting hypothesis that you just file away and you keep.
The rest of the interview is fascinating as well, discussing topics ranging from how our memory works during a crisis (time doesn’t really slow down) to how keeping secrets increases stress hormones in your body.
His book, Incognito: The Secret Lives Of The Brain.