- Show your acquaintance with various methods of knowing. Why science is considered the most trustworthy among those methods? Argue with suitable examples. ‘Research is an art of scientific investigation.’(Arts, 2015)
From time immemorial, people have been questioning about various things around them and because of their inquisitive nature i.e. their instinct to know and to find solution of various problems i.e. their need to know, people have been figuring out various methods of knowing. Knowledge is important and everyone needs it so in order to seek knowledge various scholars have been finding out ways to get knowledge.
Kerlinger (1973) summarizing the writings of the philosopher Charles Pierce provides the four methods by which we determine truth.
- Tenacity: The first is the method of tenacity whereby truth is what is known to the individual or group. It simply is true(Huitt, 1998, April). There is no verification and no questioning. Validity of statement is mostly due to tradition and belief. It had been considered true since time immemorial. It worked with the mindset that it worked for their grand-parents, their parents and it should work for them too. Eg. Black cat crossing the road is bad and 13 is an unlucky number.
- Authority: The second is the method of authority in which truth is established through a trusted source such as God, tradition, or public sanction. Here, question is asked but not what and why but who said that? Information is considered valid due to authority of source. But one authority cannot be considered authority for all. It depends on situation and the type of knowledge sought.
- Intuition: The third is the a prorimethod or the method of intuition. Here, questions are raised from all corners and it is solved with the help of intellect. It is much superior that tenancy or authority. It is not systematic so maybe not possible to forecast.
- Science: The fourth method is the scientific method which attempts to define a process for defining truth that produces results verifiable by others and is self-correcting. Kerlinger’s definition of scientific research is that it is a “systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.”
Science is more concerned about general laws and to understand casual relation, what happens if there is change in some situation. People wanted to have trustworthy information, hence they found out scientific method that was more credible than tenacity, authority and intuition. The following characteristic of science makes it most trust worthy.
- Objective: Scientific method of gaining knowledge is objective. The results are concrete and similar all over the place. They are hard facts and the researcher cannot manipulate them. It requires open mind and the researcher has to take in all facts without biasness.
- Systematic: The method is systematic i.e. the method is step by step. They undergo a certain process and planning due to which the method is carefully carried out step by step. For example: All the scientific experiments follow a certain procedure.
- Verifiable: It means that the knowledge can be challenged, questioned and later proved. That is why this method is trust worthy because it has proof. For example: Certain acid, base and salt can be verified with the help of litmus paper.
- Empirical: It means believing on the facts perceived by our senses. It can be the sense of hearing, touching, seeing or feeling. They are based on our experience of verification. For example: We know ice is cold because we feel cold sensation when we touch it.
- Logical: Logic means using our intellect based on facts that we already know. There are many facts as simple as cats meowing or dogs barking but if someone states that a dog meows, they are called unreasonable and illogical because we all know the fact that dogs bark and not meow.
- Replicable: All the scientific methods can be replicated i.e. questioned and experimented again maybe to bring out new and better results. The phenomena can be repeated to being out newer theories. For example: Experiments can be conducted to find newer results.
Hence, science is a method of knowledge that is most trust worthy because of its characteristics that show credibility and proof that can be verified and questioned by everyone.
Arts, K. U. (Composer). (2015). Research Methodology . [A. N.M, Performer] Kathmandu , Nepal .
Huitt, W. (1998, April). Measurement, evaluation, and research: Ways of knowing. Valdosta, GA.
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