Role of Scientific Method Research Paper

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The Role of Scientific Method

Modern science is a remarkable phenomenon, and people naturally wonder how it works. Strangely, science has never been methodically studied scientifically, so we have quite a collection of different answers to this question, some of them true and some of them ludicrous. Unfortunately, the answer that has became most accepted was a guess made by some philosophers, which turned out to be worse than ineffective. Even more regrettably, that guess is now normally believed to be the simple truth about how science proceeds to extend new understanding (Halwes, 2000).

Discussions of methodology in science are clouded by a terrible confusion because of how the scientific method is used. There are two ways in which it is normally utilized, one fitting and one highly confusing. The fitting one speaks in a very general way of science as a dominant process for improving understanding. People who use the phrase in this general way may be condemning dogmatic clinging to beliefs and prejudices, or welcoming careful and systematic reasoning about empirical evidence. Even though vague, this general use of the phrase can be more or less suitable (Halwes, 2000).

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On the other hand, the phrase is also frequently used in a much more specific sense, a totally misleading sense, which entails that there is an exceptional standard method which is innermost to scientific progress. There is no such exclusive standard method, scientific progress needs many methods, but students in introductory science courses are taught that the Scientific Method is a clear-cut procedure, involving testing hypotheses derived from theories in order to test those theories (Halwes, 2000).

Research Paper on Role of Scientific Method Assignment

The key to the scientific method is that it is a way of knowing in which one can never totally prove that something is completely true. As an alternative, the significant idea about the method is that any statement, to be scientific, must be open to refutation and a way of knowing how to disprove it exists (Botkin, 2012). So how does the scientific method play out in intelligence research and analysis? Intelligence is the authorized, covert collection and processing of information on foreign countries in order to aid in devising and put into practice foreign policy, and the behavior of covert activities abroad to make possible the execution of foreign policy (Random, 1993).

Scientific research is intended to make descriptive or explanatory inferences on the foundation of empirical information about the world. Cautious descriptions of specific phenomena are frequently indispensible to scientific research, but the gathering of facts alone is not enough. Facts can be collected, by qualitative or quantitative researchers, more or less methodically, and the previous is perceptibly better than the latter, but the definition of science necessitates the additional step of trying to infer beyond the immediate data to something broader that is not directly observed. That something may involve descriptive inference, using observations from the world to learn about other overlooked facts. Or that something may entail causal inference, learning about causal effects from the data observed. The area of inference can be limited in space and time or it can be widespread. In either case, the key distinctive mark of scientific research is the goal of making inferences that go beyond the particular observations gathered (Michael, 2002).

Characteristically, intelligence research or analysis begins when the researchers makes observations. Different from the physical scientist, who may observe their phenomena directly, the intelligence researcher or analyst typically makes their observations vicariously. This means that the researchers studies documents, reads intelligence reports, studies photographs, or interviews participants or other observers. Based on these observations, they put forward tentative explanations of what is taking place or why something is occurring. These early provisional explanations are called working hypotheses. These working hypotheses are looked at in terms of possibility and plausibility and the hypotheses that seem most plausible are kept for additional validation (Clauser, 2008).

The retained hypotheses are tested against new input, and the hypothesis that is supported the best by the new input becomes the foundation for the researcher's conclusions. In general, this procedure is not too different from the methods used by the physical scientist. But there are a number of significant differences that may take place in intelligence research. For instance, while the experimental scientist limits their hypotheses to one, the intelligence researcher, in order to exhaust all rational possibilities more rapidly, will try to hypothesize as many likely and reasonable hypotheses as they can and they may very well test several of these at the same time. These researchers are forced to do this for the reason that the variables cannot be simulated in the real world as they can be in the laboratory. Unlike with the physical scientist who can methodically test one hypothesis, then duplicate the variable and test another hypothesis, and so on until they have exhausted all of the hypotheses or until they have validated one. The intelligence researchers cannot create the situation again. Even though it might be probable to recreate the physical conditions surrounding an event, it is not possible to recapture the event without taking into account the learning or experience that has been gained by the participants since the original event took place (Clauser, 2008).

Another difference between intelligence research and research that relates to establishing scientific principles is the role that predication plays in validation. A scientific hypothesis is said to be valid only when a predicated event takes place. However, much intelligence research and analysis is carried out for the very purpose of precluding an event's occurrence, consequently, it is frequently impossible to use an actual event for the purposes of validating predication. Research conducted to establish a scientific principle seeks to uncover relationships that authorize the predication of outcomes of classes of events. Intelligence research, on the other hand, when it addresses predication, is more concerned with predicating specific events (Clauser, 2008).

One prominent feature of scientific inquiry is the impartiality of the methods, so bias is reduced when collecting and interpreting the data. In academic fields the findings are shared by way of publication in scholarly journals and professional conferences. There are many reasons for sharing the research results, including:

knowledge is collective and all scholar researchers benefit from publication colleagues can evaluate the methods and interpretations of a study in order to exercise some level of quality control through peer review.

But this is not the case with intelligence research as it is secret research. The audience is key decision makers accountable for protecting and preserving a way of life for a lot of people, thus, the research is not intended for public viewing, even within academic circles. For instance, the incapability to critique methods and interpretations of a study is a drawback with intelligence research, but in its place, analysts could consider finding ways within their agency to have their work peer reviewed. This requires more than proofreading by a supervisor but could be done through a work in progress forum of fellow analysts where the researchers present their methods and findings (Prunckun, 2010).

Intelligence analysis is the procedure of taking known information about situations and entities of strategic, operational, or tactical importance, characterizing the known, and, with appropriate statements of probability, the future actions in those situations and by those entities. The descriptions are drawn from what may only be accessible in the form of deliberately deceptive information; the analyst must associate the similarities among deceptions and extract a common truth. Intelligence analysis is a way of reducing the vagueness of highly ambiguous situations, with the ambiguity often very deliberately created by highly intelligent people with mindsets very different from the analyst's. A lot of analysts prefer the middle-of-the-road explanation, rejecting high or low probability explanations. Analysts may use their own standard of proportionality as to the risk acceptance of the adversary, rejecting that the opponent may take an extreme risk to achieve what the analyst regards as a minor gain. Above all, the analyst must stay away from the special cognitive traps for intelligence analysis projecting what they want the opponent to think, and using available information to rationalize that conclusion (Heuer, 1999).

The body of specific methodology for intelligence analysis is normally referred to as analytic tradecraft. The academic disciplines examining the art and science of intelligence analysis are most regularly referred to as intelligence studies. The goal of the analytic tradecraft is the pursuit of expertise in analytic tradecraft. "Tradecraft facilitates analysts to provide value-added to consumers of intelligence by ensuring:

Dedication to objectivity - tough-minded evaluation of information and explicit defense of judgments - which enhances our credibility with consumers dealing with complex and sensitive policy issues.

Delivery of our products to the right people in time to be useful in their decision making, and using feedback and tasking from them to drive the collection of the basic intelligence that we need to produce our analysis" (a Compendium of Analytic Tradecraft Notes, 1997).

An analysis is not a nicely arranged snapshot of raw data. It is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Role of Scientific Method.  (2012, February 22).  Retrieved February 28, 2020, from

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"Role of Scientific Method."  February 22, 2012.  Accessed February 28, 2020.