PED Educational Research

Many orientational researchers work for universities

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Sources of Knowledge In this section we discuss how people learn about the world around them and gain knowledge. The two major ways that we learn are through experience and reasoning. Experience The idea here is that knowledge comes from experience. Historically, this view was called empiricism (i.e., original knowledge comes from experience). The term empirical means "based on observation, experiment, or experience." Reasoning Historically, this idea was called rationalism (i.e., original knowledge comes from thought and reasoning). There are two main forms of reasoning: Deductive reasoning (i.e., the process of drawing a conclusion that is necessarily true if the premises are true). Deductive reasoning is the classical approach used by the great rationalists in the history of western civilization. Inductive reasoning (i.e., the process of drawing a conclusion that is “probably” true). The so called “problem of induction” is that the future might not resemble the present, which is a major reason why we don’t get “proof” in empirical research. The Scientific Approach to Knowledge Generation Science is also an approach for the generation of knowledge. It relies on a mixture of empiricism (i.e., the collection of data) and rationalism (i.e., the use of reasoning and theory construction and testing). Dynamics of science Science has many distinguishing characteristics: Science is progressive. In other words, "We stand on the shoulders of giants" (Newton). Science is rational. Science is creative. Science is dynamic. Science is open. Science is "Critical." Science is never-ending. 6
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Basic Assumptions of Science In order to do science, we usually make several assumptions. Here they are as summarized in Table 1.3. Scientific Methods There are many scientific methods. The two major methods are the inductive method and the deductive method. The confirmatory or deductive method involves the following three steps: 1. State the hypothesis (based on theory or research literature) and deduce what must occur if the hypothesis is true. 2. Collect data to test the hypothesis. 3. Make a decision to tentatively accept or reject the hypothesis. The exploratory or inductive method . This approach also involves three steps: 1. Observe the world. 2. Search for a pattern in what is observed. 3. Make a generalization or conclusion about what is occurring. The confirmatory method is a top-down or theory/hypothesis testing approach to research. It is used by most quantitative researchers. They state their hypotheses, make predictions about what must occur if a hypothesis is supported (and what will happen if the hypothesis is to be rejected), collect data, analyze the data, and draw a conclusion (hypothesis is supported or hypothesis is rejected).
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  • Fall '11
  • John Smith
  • Educational research

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