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What, When, Where, How, Who?
Introduction, Important Definitions and Related Concepts:
The word theory has many distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion. In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation. For the scientist, "theory" is not in any way an antonym of "fact". For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theories commonly used to describe and explain this behavior are Newton's theory of universal gravitation (see also gravitation), and the general theory of relativity. In common usage, the word theory is often used to signify a conjecture, an opinion, a speculation, or a hypothesis. In this usage, a theory is not necessarily based on facts; in other words, it is not required to be consistent with true descriptions of reality. This usage of theory leads to the common incorrect statements. True descriptions of reality are more reflectively understood as statements which would be true independently of what people think about them. According to the National Academy of Sciences,
Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena. Knowledge is defined (Oxford English Dictionary) variously as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. Philosophical debates in general start with Plato's formulation of knowledge as "justified true belief". There is however no single agreed definition of knowledge presently, nor any prospect of one, and there remain numerous competing theories. Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning. The term knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose if appropriate. Methodology (also called manner) is defined as "the analysis of the principles of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline", "the systematic study of methods that are, can be, or have been applied within a discipline" or "a particular procedure or set of procedures" . It should be noted that methodology is frequently used when method would be more accurate. (This is a classic example of word inflation.) For example, "Since students were not available to complete the survey about academic success, we changed our methodology and gathered data from instructors instead". In this instance the methodology (gathering data via surveys, and the assumption that this produces accurate results) did not change, but the method (asking teachers instead of students) did. Methodology includes the following concepts as they relate to a particular discipline or field of inquiry: a collection of theories, concepts or ideas; comparative study of different approaches; and critique of the individual methods Methodology refers to more than a simple set of methods; rather it refers to the rationale and the philosophical assumptions that underlie a particular study. This is why scholarly literature often includes a section on the methodology of the researchers. This section does more than outline the researchers’ methods (as in, “We conducted a survey of 50 people over a two-week period and subjected the results to statistical analysis”, etc.); it might explain what the researchers’ ontological or epistemological views are. Another key (though arguably imprecise) usage for methodology does not refer to research or to the specific analysis techniques. This often refers to anything and everything that can be encapsulated for a discipline or a series of processes, activities and tasks. Examples of this are found in software development, project management and business process fields. This use of the term is typified by the outline who, what, where, when, and why. In the documentation of the processes that make up the discipline, that is being supported by "this" methodology, that is where we would find the "methods" or processes. The processes themselves are only part of the methodology along with the identification and usage of the standards, policies, rules, etc. Main Entry:
consideration of a question in open and usually informal debate a formal treatment of a topic in speech or writing. Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is the effort to understand, or to understand better, how the physical world works, with observable evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate events under controlled conditions. A model is a pattern, plan, representation (especially in miniature), or description designed to show the main object or workings of an object, system, or concept.
based on an inherent sense of right and wrong <natural justice> being in accordance with or determined by nature having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature begotten as distinguished from adopted; also : legitimate being a relation by actual consanguinity as distinguished from adoption <natural parents> illegitimate <a natural child> having an essential relation with someone or something : following from the nature of the one in question <his guilt is a natural deduction from the evidence> implanted or being as if implanted by nature : seemingly inborn <a natural talent for art> of or relating to nature as an object of study and research having a specified character by nature <a natural athlete> occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature : not marvelous or supernatural <natural causes> formulated by human reason alone rather than revelation <natural religion> <natural rights> having a normal or usual character <events followed their natural course> possessing or exhibiting the higher qualities (as kindliness and affection) of human nature <a noble…brother…ever most kind and natural — Shakespeare> growing without human care; also : not cultivated <natural prairie unbroken by the plow> existing in or produced by nature : not artificial <natural turf> <natural curiosities> relating to or being natural food being in a state of nature without spiritual enlightenment : unregenerate <natural man> living in or as if in a state of nature untouched by the influences of civilization and society having a physical or real existence as contrasted with one that is spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious <a corporation is a legal but not a natural person> of, relating to, or operating in the physical as opposed to the spiritual world <natural laws describe phenomena of the physical universe> closely resembling an original : true to nature marked by easy simplicity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or constraint having a form or appearance found in nature having neither flats nor sharps <the natural scale of C major> being neither sharp nor flat having the pitch modified by the natural sign of an off-white or beige color — nat·u·ral·ness \-nəs\ noun synonyms natural, ingenuous, naive, unsophisticated, artless mean free from pretension or calculation. natural implies lacking artificiality and self-consciousness and having a spontaneousness suggesting the natural rather than the man-made world <her unaffected, natural manner>. ingenuous implies inability to disguise or conceal one's feelings or intentions <the ingenuous enthusiasm of children>. naive suggests lack of worldly wisdom often connoting credulousness and unchecked innocence <politically naive>. unsophisticated implies a lack of experience and training necessary for social ease and adroitness <unsophisticated adolescents>. artless suggests a naturalness resulting from unawareness of the effect one is producing on others <artless charm>.synonyms see in addition regular. A phenomenon (from Greek φαινόμενoν, pl. φαινόμενα - phenomena) is any occurrence that is observable. In popular usage, a phenomenon often refers to an extraordinary event. In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex- periri, "of (or from) trying") is a set of observations performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to retain or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. The experiment is a cornerstone in the empirical approach to acquiring deeper knowledge about the physical world. A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses. Empirical data is data that is produced by experiment or observation. It is usually differentiated from the philosophic usage of empiricism by the use of the adjective "empirical" or the adverb "empirically." "Empirical" as an adjective or adverb is used in conjunction with both the natural and social sciences, and refers to the use of working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment. In this sense of the word, scientific statements are subject to and derived from our experiences or observations. Observation is either an activity of a sapient or sentient living being (e.g. humans), which senses and assimilates the knowledge of a phenomenon or an instrumental recording of data. The term may also refer to the data collected during this activity. A scientist, in the broadest sense, refers to any person that engages in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge or an individual that engages in such practices and traditions that are linked to schools of thought or philosophy. In a more restricted sense, scientist refers to individuals who use the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science.
an·to·nym Audio Help /ˈæntənɪm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[an-tuh-nim] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
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