Presentation on theme: "Seminar on Scientific method and Historical Method Presented by Mrs. Ramamani. B Research Scholar Guide Dr. C.P. Ramasheh University Librarian Department."— Presentation transcript:
Seminar on Scientific method and Historical Method Presented by Mrs. Ramamani. B Research Scholar Guide Dr. C.P. Ramasheh University Librarian Department of Studies in Library and Information Science Manasagangothri, Mysore.
Definitions of Research 1.According to Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Library and Information Science “Research is a systematic, painstaking investigation of a topic, or in a field of study, often employing hypothesis and experimentation, undertaken by a person intent on revealing new facts, theories, or principles, or determining the current state of knowledge of the subject”. 2. Research is systematic investigation of a subject to discover new knowledge, including designs of new products and processes.
Definitions of Scientific method 1. The Oxford English Dictionary says that scientific method is "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."Oxford English Dictionary hypotheses 2. The Scientific method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world.
Nature of Scientific Method The nature of scientific method depends upon the nature and objective of a particular science. There are, broadly, two methods of science: Technical (technological) Logical Technical Method For proper observation and experiment, a science, for its investigation, develops certain technological relations or facts against which the observed facts are considered. Technical methods may imply the use of certain instruments. The more developed the technical method, the more exact a science becomes in handling data required for experiment. The use of technical methods makes a science progressive.
Nature of Scientific Method Logical Method Since science is a systematized knowledge, the importance of the method of reasoning of logic can hardly be overestimated. Logic is the science of reasoning. It formulates conditions through which the validity of reasoning may be tested. Reasoning consists of arriving at a conclusion from certain premise of premises. The process of deducing a conclusion from a premise is called inference, which is nothing but derived knowledge. All knowledge consists assertions of propositions. Inferences are a proposition which is derived from some other proposition. A valid inference is one in which the conclusion follows reasonably from the premise. For ascertaining a valid conclusion, a science should depend on logical method. Scientific method is therefore, the persistent application of logic as the common feature of all systematic and reasoned knowledge.
Purpose of the Scientific Method The scientific method is the means by which researchers are able to make conclusive statements about their studies with a minimum of bias. The interpretation of data, for example the result of a new drug study, can be laden with bias. The researcher often has a personal stakes in the results of his work. As any skilled debater knows, just about any opinion can be justified and presented as fact. In order to minimize the influence of personal stakes and biased opinions, a standard method of testing a hypothesis is expected to be used by all members of the scientific community.
Steps of the Scientific Research The steps of the scientific process has a structure similar to an hourglass - The structure starts with general questions, narrowing down to focus on one specific aspect, then designing research where we can observe and analyze this aspect. At last, the hourglass widens and the researcher concludes and generalizes the findings to the real world.steps of the scientific processspecific aspectdesigning researchconcludesgeneralizes
Steps of the Scientific Research 1) Setting a Goal Research in all disciplines and subjects, not just science, must begin with a clearly defined goal. This usually, but not always, takes the form of a hypothesis.defined goalhypothesis For example, an anthropological study may not have a specific hypothesis or principle, but does have a specific goal, in studying the culture of a certain people and trying to understand and interpret their behavior. The whole study is designed around this clearly defined goal, and it should address a unique issue, building upon previous research and scientifically accepted fundamentals. Whilst nothing in science can be regarded as truth, basic assumptions are made at all stages of the research, building upon widely accepted knowledge.
2) Interpretation of the Results Research does require some interpretation and extrapolation of results.extrapolation In scientific research, there is always some kind of connection between data (information gathered) and why the scientist thinks that the data looks as it does. Often the researcher looks at the data gathered, and then comes to a conclusion of why the data looks like it does.conclusion A history paper, for example, which just reorganizes facts and makes no commentary on the results, is not research but a review. If you think of it this way, somebody writing a school textbook is not performing research and is offering no new insights. They are merely documenting pre-existing data into a new format.review If the same writer interjects their personal opinion and tries to prove or disprove a hypothesis, then they are moving into the area of genuine research. Science tends to use experimentation to study and interpret a specific hypothesis or question, allowing a gradual accumulation of knowledge that slowly becomes a basic assumption.hypothesisexperimentation
Steps of the Scientific Process 3) Replication and Gradual Accumulation For any study, there must be a clear procedure so that the experiment can be replicated and the results verified. Again, there is a bit of a grey area for observation-based research, as is found in anthropology, behavioral biology and social science, but they still fit most of the other criteria.observation-based research Planning and designing the experimental method, is an important part of the project and should revolve around answering specific predictions and questions. This will allow an exact duplication and verification by independent researchers, ensuring that the results are accepted as real. Most scientific research looks at an area and breaks it down into easily tested pieces.designingexperimental methodquestionsscientific research The gradual experimentation upon these individual pieces will allow the larger questions to be approached and answered, breaking down a large and seemingly insurmountable problem, into manageable chunks. True research never gives a definitive answer but encourages more research in another direction. Even if a hypothesis is disproved, that will give an answer and generate new ideas, as it is refined and developed.hypothesis Research is cyclical, with the results generated leading to new areas or a refinement of the original process.
Steps of the Scientific Process 4) Conclusion The term, research, is much stricter in science than in everyday life.research It revolves around using the scientific method to generate hypotheses and provide analyzable results. All scientific research has a goal and ultimate aim, repeated and refined experimentation gradually reaching an answer.scientific methodaim These results are a way of gradually uncovering truths and finding out about the processes that drive the universe around us. Only by having a rigid structure to experimentation, can results be verified as acceptable contributions to science.truths Some other areas, such as history and economics, also perform true research, but tend to have their own structures in place for generating solid results. They also contribute to human knowledge but with different processes and systems.
Value and use of Scientific Method Scientific method is concerned with verification of the acquired knowledge. It finds out some order in which things are related together. The conclusion which is arrived at by the scientific method has an objective validity. The objective nature of the scientific method is its greatest quality. Scientific method is the only way to increase the general body of tested knowledge and to eliminate arbitrary and ambiguous opinion. Scientific method springs from the desire to acquire truth, and when this desire is very strong in a community, the progress of the Scientific method becomes rapid and smooth.
Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton Regularities Verification Techniques Quantification Values Systematization Pure Science and Integration
1. Regularities Scientific method believes that the world is regular and phenomena occur in patterns. Further there are certain discernible uniformities in political behavior, which can be expressed as generalizations which are capable of explaining and predicting political and social phenomena. The task of science is to ascertain what these patters are in the natural world. A scientific study must be public. Different individuals can investigate independently and possibly arrive at the same conclusion. For example when, two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen is added, the component should produce water. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
2. Verification Scientific method presupposes that knowledge, in order to be valid, should consist of propositions that have been subjected to empirical tests, and that all evidence must be based on observation. Claims to knowledge must refer to concrete human experiences so that verification is possible. Science is thus empirical. Experience has come to represent the true test of science. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
3. Techniques Scientific method attaches a great deal of importance to the adoption of correct techniques for acquiring and interpreting data. In order to make the researcher self- conscious and critical about the methodology, there is need for the use of sophisticated tools-like multi-variate analysis, sample surveys, mathematical models, stimulations etc. This enables the researcher to discount his own value preferences in planning, executing and assessing his research work. The technique should be so refined and validated that rigorous means could be found for observing and analyzing data. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
4. Quantification Science necessarily involves mathematical formulas and measurements. Theories are not acceptable if they are not expressed in mathematical language. Unless imprecise qualitative judgements are replaced by rigorous measurement and data organization procedures, it would not be possible to obtained precise and accurate knowledge about the complexities of phenomenon. All observations must be quantified because quantification has advantages in terms of precision and manageability. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
5. Values Values and facts are two separate things. Science, it is claimed, is value free. It is not concerned with what is ‘good’, ‘right’, ‘proper’, ‘desirable’, etc. ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are the concern of philosophers. Ethical evaluation is different from empirical explanation. Democracy, equality or freedom may be excellent values to uphold, but their truth of falsity cannot be proved in a scientific manner. Scientific inquiry to be objective, therefore, must be value free. Social Sciences should be studied scientifically through empirical methods and it will have nothing to do with moral or ethical questions. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
6. Systematizations Scientific study demands that research should be systematic. It means it must be theory-oriented and theory-directed. The theory and research should form interrelated parts of a coherent and orderly body of knowledge. It is said that research untutored by theory may prove trivial and theory, unsupported by data, futile. Theory does not consist of a well organized, logically interrelated structure of concepts and propositions that hypothesis have to be advanced. The hypothesis, in their own turn, has to be capable of undergoing rigorous testing and, then alone, should form the basis of new theories. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
7. Pure Science Scientific minded social scientists insist on pure science approach. They agree that theoretical understanding may lead to an application of this knowledge to problems of life. Both the theory and its application are parts of the scientific enterprise. But the understanding and explanation of social behavior logically precedes efforts to utilize that knowledge in the solution of urgent practical problems of society. Therefore, attach great importance to pure research and would be content with it even if it cannot be applied to specific social problems. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
8. Integration Finally, there is the question of integration of each social science with other social sciences. The beviouralists agree that man is a social animal and while one may try to draw boundary lines between the social, political, economic, cultural and other activities, none of these activities can be understood without placing them in the wider context of his entire life. The study of a political phenomenon, therefore, requires some understanding of how the economic, cultural, and other phenomena in society are unfolding themselves. If an effort is made to detach the political man from the economic, social or cultural man, it would not be possible to understand his political behavior in its true character. Therefore a complete and a total perspective come only through interdisciplinary approach. Objectives and Assumption of Scientific method by David Easton
Limitations of Scientific method 1.Scientific method involves abstraction. 2. Scientific explanation is never complete. At every stage, there are some basic principles which remain unexplained in social sciences. 3. The conclusions arrives at by scientific method are not final. They are only relative to observed phenomena, facts discovered and reasoning developed. 4. Sciences have limited scope. Each science is concerned with a particular area and is based on certain assumptions. 5. Superstitions, cherished beliefs etc., are hostile to the growth of scientific method. Institutionists, authoritarians, factionalists and mystics often undermine the respect for scientific method.
6. Formal procedures are fruitless. Definitions and formal distinctions are not often used properly; and statistical information’s may be irrelevant and inconclusive. 7. Scientific judgement is difficult, and sometimes impossible, when situations demand immediate action. 8. The growth of scientific method in a society where there is no desire for truth, or freedom for the expression of intellectual doubt, is surely hampered. “Fear of offending established dogmas has been an obstacle to the growth of astronomy and geology and other physical sciences.” Limitations of Scientific method
9. The necessary time for reflection, and material for experiments are often lacking for the proper development of scientific method. 10. Scientific researches in social field are often in the hands of those who cannot always oppose the established opinion or taboos. 11. No scientific method can guarantee certainty of achieving the goal and can prevent human life from being an adventure. Limitations of Scientific method
Difficulties in the use of Scientific method 1. Human behavior is complicated, subtle and varied. Therefore, it is very difficult to categories human behavior. 2. When human behavior is studied and analyzed by other human beings, the personal characteristics of such human beings come into the picture and distort the analytical facts. 3. Different aspects of human behavior are psychological in nature, and as such, do not admit of measurement. 4. Human behavior is not uniform and predictable. It is more often than not, uncertain. All people do not behave in the same way in similar circumstances. Similarly, one individual may behave differently under similar circumstances. 5. The choice or decision involving humans, which is essential for observing human behavior for the use of the method of experiment, becomes difficult. Thus reliable scientific data cannot always be collected.
Historical Method Definition: The process of learning and understanding the background and growth of a chosen field of study or profession can offer insight into organizational culture, current trends, and future possibilities. The historical method of research applies to all fields of study because it encompasses their origins, growth, theories, personalities, crisis, etc. Both quantitative and qualitative variables can be used in the collection of historical information.
Comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past. The question of the nature, and even the possibility, of a sound historical method is raised in the philosophy of history as a question of epistemology. The study of historical method and writing is known as historiography. Historical research can also mean gathering data from situations that have already occurred and performing statistical analysis on this data just as we would in a traditional experiment. A procedure supplementary to observation in which the researcher seeks to test the authenticity of the reports or observations made by others. The historical method is employed by researchers who are interested in reporting events and/or conditions that occurred in the past. An attempt is made to establish facts in order to arrive at conclusions concerning past events or predict future events. Historical Method
Steps for conducting Historical Research 1. Recognition of a historical problem or the identification of a need for certain historical knowledge. Gathering of as much relevant information about the problem or topic as possible. 2. Forming of hypothesis that tentatively explains relationship between historical factors. 3. Rigorous collection and organization of evidence, and the verification of the authenticity and veracity of information and its sources. 4. Selection, organization, and analysis of the most pertinent collected evidence, and the drawing of conclusions 5. Recording of conclusions in a meaningful narrative..
Principles of Historical Research 1. A true qualitative research may also be biased in the types of statistical data collected or in how that information was interpreted by the researcher. 2. Factors that can contribute to “historical episodes”. 3. Evidence should not be examined from a singular point of view.
OBJECTIVES OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH 1. Isolate the problem. 2.Collect source materials, including primary and secondary sources. 3. Evaluate source material. 4. Formulate hypotheses. 5. Report and interpret findings.
Sources of Information There are a variety of places to obtain historical information. Primary Sources are the most sought after in historical research. Primary resources are first hand accounts of information. “Finding and assessing primary historical data is an exercise in detective work. It involves logic, intuition, persistence, and common sense… (Tuchman, Gaye in Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry, 252). Some examples of primary documents are: personal diaries, eyewitness accounts of events, and oral histories. “Secondary sources of information are records or accounts prepared by someone other than the person, or persons, who participated in or observed an event.” Secondary resources can be very useful in giving a researcher a grasp on a subject and may provided extensive bibliographic information for delving further into a research topic.
Methods of Historical Research There are four major methods that researchers use to collect historical data. 1.Archival data 2. External sources 3. Running records 4. Recollections.
1. Archival data The archival data, or primary sources, are typically the resources that researchers rely most heavily on. Archival data includes official documents and other items that would be found in archives, museums, etc. 2. External Sources Secondary sources are the works of other historians who have written history. 3. Running Records Running records are “documentaries maintained by private or non profit organizations.” 4. Recollections Recollections include sources such as autobiographies, memoirs or diaries. Methods of Historical Research
Historical Comparative Research Study of past events and questions using methods in sociology and other social scientific research to inform the possible outcomes and answers to current events and questions. Steps of Historical Research According to Schutt there are four stages, of systematic qualitative comparative historical studies; (1) Development of the premise of the investigation, identifying events/concepts, etc. that may explain the phenomena. (2) Choose the case(s) (location- nation, region) to examine. (3) Using what Theda Skocpol has termed as "interpretive historical sociology" and examine the similarities and the differences. (4) Finally based on the information gathered propose a casual explanation for the phenomena.
Advantages of Historical Research 1. An advantage is that it enables researchers to learn about events that happened in the passed or long ago and also provides a way to study trends. 2. The research is not physically involved in the situation under study. 3. No danger of experimenter-subject interaction. 4. Documents are located by the researcher, data is gathered, and conclusions are drawn out of sight
Identifying features of Historical Research The three identifying issues of historical comparative research are 1. Causal relationships. 2. Processes over time, and 3. Comparisons. As mentioned above causal relationships are difficult to support although we make causal assumptions daily. Schutt discusses the five criteria, which must be met in order to have a causal relationship. Of the five the first three are the most important: association, time order and non-spuriousness. Association simply means that between two variables; the change in one variable is related to the change in another variable. Time order refers to the fact that the cause (the independent variable) must be shown to have occurred first and the effect (the dependent variable) to have occurred second. Nonspuriousness says that the association between two variables is not because of a third variable.
The final two criteria are; identifying a causal mechanism- how the connection/association among variables is thought to have occurred- and the context in which this association occurs. The deterministic causal approach requires that in every study, the independent and dependent variable have an association, and within that study every case (nation, region) the independent variable has an effect on the dependent variable. John Stuart Mill devised five methods by which people are able to systematically analyze their observations and make more accurate assumptions about causality. Mill's Methods discusses; direct method of agreement, method of difference, joint method of agreement and difference, method of residues and method of concomitant variations. Identifying features of Historical Research
Some issues with this aspect of historical comparative research are that the Mill's methods are typically the most useful when the causal relationship is already suspected and can therefore be a tool for eliminating other explanations. Mill's methods simply cannot provide proof that the variation in one variable was caused by the variation of another variable. Something about each of these three. How do we tell when we have sufficient evidence to impute a causal relationship? How best can we model processes unfolding over time? On what basis can we identify appropriate comparisons?. Identifying features of Historical Research
Evaluation of Historical Research 1. Statement of hypotheses. 2. External and internal criticism of sources. 3. Observation and experimentation. 4. Technical terminology. 5. Generalization and prediction.