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Scientific research (1) contribute to a body of science, and (2) follow the scientific method.
science A systematic and organized body of knowledge in any area of inquiry that is acquired using “the scientific method”
Natural science The science of naturally occurring objects or phenomena, such as light, objects, matter, earth, celestial bodies, or the human body
Social science The science of people or collections of people, such as groups, firms, societies, or economies, and their individual or collective behaviors], do not always yield same results
types of Social Science (psychology [the science of human behaviors], sociology [the science of social groups], and economics [the science of firms, markets, and economies]).
types of science basic and pure
basic science Explains the most basic objects and forces, relationships between them, and laws governing them. Examples include physics, mathematics, and biology.
applied science Applies scientific knowledge from basic sciences in a physical environment. For instance, engineering is an applied science that applies the laws of physics and chemistry for practical applications.
Scientific knowledge A generalized body of laws and theories to explain a phenomenon or behavior of interest that are acquired using the scientific method.
Laws Observed patterns of phenomena or behaviors
Theories Systematic explanations of the underlying phenomenon or behavior
The goal of scientific research To discover laws and postulate theories that can explain natural or social phenomena, or in other words, build scientific knowledge through a process of logic and evidence
Logic (theory) and evidence (observations) The pillars upon which scientific knowledge is based
The theoretical level Concerned with developing abstract concepts about a natural or social phenomenon and relationships between those concepts (i.e., build “theories”)
The empirical level Concerned with testing the theoretical concepts and relationships to see how well they reflect our observations of reality, with the goal of ultimately building better theories.
Inductive (theory building) research Infer theoretical concepts and patterns from observed data
Deductive (theory testing) research Test concepts and patterns known from theory using new empirical data.
Methodological skills ("know-how") Relatively standard, invariant across disciplines, and easily acquired through doctoral programs.
Theoretical skills ("know-what") Considerably harder to master, requires years of observation and reflection, and are tacit skills that cannot be “taught” but rather learned though experience.
Scientific method A standardized set of techniques for building scientific knowledge, such as how to make valid observations, how to interpret results, and how to generalize those results.
Replicability Others should be able to replicate a scientific study.
Precision Theoretical concepts must be defined with such precision that others can use those definitions to measure those concepts and test that theory.
Falsifiability (Popper) A theory must be stated in a way that it can be disproven.
Parsimony (Occam’s razor) When there are multiple explanations of a phenomenon, scientists must always accept the simplest or logically most economical explanation.
Exploratory Research: 3 goals 1) To scope out the magnitude or extent of a particular phenomenon, problem, or behavior 2) To generate some initial ideas (or “hunches”) about that phenomenon 3) To test the feasibility of undertaking a more extensive study regarding that phenomenon
Descriptive research Directed at making careful observations and detailed documentation of a phenomenon of interest. These observations must be based on the scientific method, and therefore, are more reliable than casual observations by untrained people.
Explanatory research Seeks explanations of observed phenomena, problems, or behaviors. Attempts connect the dots, by identifying causal factors and outcomes of target phenomenon. Requires strong theoretical interpretation skills, intuition, insights, and personal experience.
Greek philosophers Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates during the 3rd century BC
Rationalism a process of systematic logical reasoning which views reason as the source of knowledge or justification, and suggests that the criterion of truth is not sensory but rather intellectual and deductive.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) 16th century suggested knowledge can only be derived from observations. Emphasized knowledge acquisition as empirical activity rather than a reasoning activity – empiricism. Used “scientific method”, consisting of systematic observation, measurement, experimentation.
Galileo (1564-1642) perhaps the first to state that the laws of nature are mathematical, and contributed to the field of astronomy through an innovative combination of experimentation and mathematics.
Immanuel Kant (18th century) sought to resolve the dispute between empiricism and rationalism, argued experience is purely subjective and processing them using pure reason without first delving into the subjective nature of experiences will lead to theoretical illusions.
Immanuel Kant book Critique of Pure Reason
Auguste Comte (1798–1857) founder of the discipline of sociology, attempted to blend rationalism and empiricism in a new doctrine called positivism
Positivism He suggested that theory and observations have circular dependence on each other. Positivism was typically equated with quantitative research methods such as experiments and surveys and without any explicit philosophical commitments.
Antipositivism Employed qualitative methods such as unstructured interviews and participant observation.
Sir Karl Popper (British philosopher) suggested that human knowledge is based not on unchallengeable, rock solid foundations, but rather on a set of tentative conjectures that can never be proven conclusively, but only disproven (the law of Falsifiability).
Postpositivism (or postempiricism) Amends positivism by suggesting that it is impossible to verify the truth although it is possible to reject false beliefs using the scientific method.
Created by: 23709045