A comprehensive analysis of the scientific method and the general scientific knowledge

Asking questions for science and defining problems for engineering 2.

A comprehensive analysis of the scientific method and the general scientific knowledge


Perhaps even more unflattering, a related indictment leveled at the education research enterprise is that it does not generate knowledge that can inform education practice and policy. The prevailing view is that findings from education research studies are of low quality and are endlessly contested—the result of which is that no consensus emerges about anything.

We argue in Chapter 1 that this skepticism is not new. Education research is broken in our country. Research needs to be conducted on a more scientific basis.

Educators and policy makers need objective, reliable research. Page 29 Share Cite Suggested Citation: Scientific Research in Education. The National Academies Press. Is there any evidence that scientific research in education accumulates to provide objective, reliable results?

Does knowledge from scientific education research progress as it does in the physical, life, or social sciences? To shed light on these questions, we consider how knowledge accumulates in science and provide examples of the state of scientific knowledge in several fields.

In doing so, we make two central arguments in this chapter. First, research findings in education have progressed over time and provided important insights in policy and practice.

What is needed is more and better scientific research of this kind on education. Our second and related argument is that in research across the scientific disciplines and in education, the path to scientific understanding shares several common characteristics. Its advancement is choppy, pushing the boundaries of what is known by moving forward in fits and starts as methods, theories, and empirical findings evolve.

A comprehensive analysis of the scientific method and the general scientific knowledge

The path to scientific knowledge wanders through contested terrain as researchers, as well as the policy, practice, and citizen communities critically examine, interpret, and debate new findings and it requires substantial investments of time and money.

Through examples from inside and outside education, we show that this characterization of scientific advancement is shared across the range of scientific endeavors.

We chose the examples that appear in this chapter to illustrate these core ideas. We do not suggest that these lines of inquiry have provided definitive answers to the underlying questions they have addressed over time.

As Thomas Henry Huxley once said: Thus, the examples we highlight in this chapter show that sustained inquiry can significantly improve the certainty with which one can claim to understand something. It is always difficult to assess the progress of a line of research at a given point in time; as Imre Lakatos once wrote: A final point of clarification is warranted.

This imagery conveys two important notions. First, it suggests that scientific understanding coalesces, as it progresses, to make sense of systems, experiences, and phenomena. The imagery also connotes the idea that scientific inquiry builds on the work that has preceded it.

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Again, as we show through several examples, science advances understanding of various phenomena through sustained inquiry and debate among investigators in a field.

Next, we trace advances in understanding how to measure and assess human performance, including educational achievement, that have evolved over more than a century.

We then describe two controversial but productive lines of research in education: These examples are provided to illustrate that lines of scientific inquiry in education research can generate cumulative knowledge with a degree of certainty and that they do so in ways similar to other scientific endeavors.

To be sure, the nature of the work varies considerably across the examples. We address broad similarities and differences among disciplines and fields in Chapters 3 and 4. The lines of inquiry in this chapter demonstrate how knowledge is acquired through systematic scientific study.

Page 31 Share Cite Suggested Citation: Mendel concluded that these plants exhibited dominant and recessive traits that were inherited. The key concept at this stage was the trait itself, with no attempt to conceptualize the physical mechanism by which the trait was passed on from generation to generation Derry, It was quickly recognized that some traits, eventually to be called genes, were inherited together linkedand that the linkage was due to those genes being located on the same chromosome.THE NATURE OF MODERN SCIENCE & SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE Dr.

Martin Nickels Anthropology Program, Illinois State University THE REAL "SCIENTIFIC METHOD": CRITICAL THINKING A.

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Assumptions and current knowledge (even "facts") are subject to regular REVIEW THEORY: an integrated, comprehensive explanation of many "facts" and an explanation. Second, a focus on practices (in the plural) avoids the mistaken impression that there is one distinctive approach common to all science—a single “scientific method”—or that uncertainty is a universal attribute of science.

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Chapter 1: THE NATURE OF SCIENCE. Over the course of human history, people have developed many interconnected and validated ideas about the physical, biological, psychological, and social worlds.

The study of science as an intellectual and social endeavor—the application of human intelligence to figuring out how the world works—should have a prominent place in any curriculum that has science literacy as one of its aims.

Quotes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

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