Research Methodology Assignment #1

Posted: September 28, 2015 in Assignments
  • Show your acquaintance with different methods of knowing. Why is science considered most trustworthy? Discuss with special reference to its characteristics. Provide suitable example discussing.

Human mind is curious. We are always in the continuous process of finding something or understanding something, be it consciously or unconsciously. We ponder and try and search for something that makes us wonder. As T.H Huxley says “We are all Scientists”, varying in the degree of reasoning, we all are, because we always want to know something and to know it, we follow various methods:

  1. Tenacity: Method of tenacity is formed with the logic that something is true because it has always been true. It focuses on how the knowledge has been transferred from generations to generations. It provides no space for rationalization. It does not give space for questioning thus does not search for valid source of the knowledge. The knowledge obtained from tenacity can be both positive and negative. It is the most criticized method as it is prone to error. For example: A store owner saying “I don’t advertise because my parents did not believe in advertising”. The idea is nothing changes. The thing considered to be good/bad/successful  before continues to be so.
  2. Authority: Method of authority emphasizes on finding the source. There is knowledge but we question to find the source which is reliable. The reliability depends upon the authority. When source is found, knowledge is considered to be true. This method is equally prone to error as it does not examine the reliability of the source objectively. It simply believes in the authoritative statement and thus, the knowledge obtained from this method cannot be completely true. For example: Believing that earth is flat because Bible says so. Here, the source is recognized but the validity of the knowledge provided by the source is not examined.
  3. Intuition: Another method of knowing is Intuition. Here, it is assumed something is true just because it is ‘self-evident’ or ‘stands to reason’. Knowledge is believed to be true through mental activity. It can be a rational approach but what can be an ideal truth to agree with? This method of knowing also has errors but it’s strength is it provide marketplace for ideas. But, it limits the scope of finding truth because people tend to believe what they know is true. For example: Some creative people in advertising agencies resists to test their advertising methods because they believe they know what will attract customers. To these people, scientific research is waste of time.
  4. Science: Finally, science being open, tentative and moving is considered to be the best way of knowing the truth. It emphasizes on step-by-step procedure which indicates what might or might not be true. The “truth” is found through series of objective analysis i.e. this method  is self-correcting and cumulative. The result from the systematic step is verifiable and can be replicated to some extent. For example: In 1984, Barry Marshall identified a bacterium Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori as the cause of stomach ulcer. After several years, hundreds of independent studies proved that Marshall was correct and in 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a combination of drugs to fight ulcers- an antacid and an antibiotic.

Tenacity, Intuition and Authority are the subjective methods of knowing. In each of these methodologies, few missing factors made them incomplete and thus could not be considered as the ultimate way of knowing the truth. However, science being more objective and rational based on evidence and facts, was then considered to be the most trustworthy method of approach towards the truth. It does not mean science is always correct or less prone to error. But, the openness to correction and approach to find tentative truth makes is more reliable method to fulfill the human curiosity.

  1. Based on classroom lecture understanding

Book reference:

Wimmer, R.D., Dominick, J.R. (2013). Mass media research: An introduction (7th Edition), Belmont, CA: Wadsworth


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s