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Agreement Reality Is Based On Personal Experience And Discovery

As theories and observations are the two pillars of science, scientific research operates on two levels: one theoretical and the other empirical. The theoretical level focuses on the development of abstract concepts on a natural or social phenomenon and the relationships between these concepts (i.e. constructing “theories”), while the empirical level looks at the experimentation of concepts and theoretical relationships to see how well they reflect our observations of reality, with the ultimate goal of constructing better theories. Over time, a theory becomes more and more sophisticated (i.e. better adapted to the observed reality) and science matures. Scientific research involves a constant back-and-forth between theory and observations. Theory and observations are essential elements of scientific research. For example, relying exclusively on observations to draw conclusions and ignore the theory is not considered valid scientific research. In the mid to late 20th century, positivist and anti-positive schools of thought were subject to criticism and modification. The British philosopher Sir Karl Popper has stated that human knowledge is not based on thoughtless and solid foundations, but on a series of preliminary presumptions that can never be conclusively proven, but can only be rebutted. Empirical evidence is the basis for refuting these assumptions or “theories.” This meta-theoretical attitude, called post-positiveivism (or post-mpiricism), changes positivism by suggesting that it is impossible to verify the truth, although it is possible to reject false beliefs, although it retains the positivist idea of an objective truth and its emphasis on the scientific method. Positivist belief in the reality of the world of objectivity must be based on faith; it cannot be proven by “objective” science, for that is precisely what it is all about. Postmodernism denies the possibility of objective social science, but there are always very strong patterns, and society can agree on what is real, and we agree that there are prejudices, and that is why we can study them critically: a paradigm that says things are real to the extent that they produce effects.

It is important to understand that the construction of theory (inductive research) and the theory test (deductive research) are both essential for the development of science. Elegant theories have no value if they do not correspond to reality. Similarly, mountains of data are useless until they can contribute to the construction of sensible theories. Instead of considering these two processes in a circular relationship, as shown in Figure 1.1, they may be better regarded as a helix, with each iteration between theory and data contributing to better explanations of the phenomenon of interest and better theories. Although inductive and deductive research is important for the development of science, it would appear that inductive (theoretical) research is more useful if there are few prior theories or explanations, while deductive research (theory-test) is more productive when there are many competing theories of the same phenomenon and researchers are interested in knowing under what circumstances the theory works best. The purpose of scientific research is to discover laws and postulate theories that may explain natural or social phenomena, or in other words, to build scientific knowledge. It is important to understand that this knowledge can be imperfect, if not far from the truth. Sometimes there may not be a single universal truth, but a balance of “multiple truths.” We need to understand that the theories on which scientific knowledge is based are merely explanations for a particular phenomenon, as one scientist suggests.