Practitioner-Based Enquiry: Principles for Postgraduate Research

By Louis Murray; Brenda Lawrence | Go to book overview
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Appendix 1

A Lexicon of Terms for the Language of Research.

Concepts Organizing ideas that compress complexities and reduce complex meanings to single or dual terms. Such ideas often enter public parlance after long periods of trial and error and/or continuous use. Chains of concepts may form a theoretical scheme from which broad generalizations may be constructed and expressed.

Constructs Single and dual terms that often have a tentative meaning in research enquiries. Constructs are often framed as abstract labels which are not usually found in public parlance. Constructs may develop substantively in meaning as evidence is gathered to support the notions they propose.

Determinism A belief system in science which postulates that events have causes; and proceeds on the presumption that causal links can be uncovered and understood.

Empiricism An essentially technical posture in science. It tends to assume that reliable knowledge originates in experience, and processes of trial and error have to be adopted to reveal the full dimensions of experience. An established convention for testing experience is the formulation of hypotheses and conjectural statements that depend upon evidence for verification. When such statements are verified they are said to be lawlike in character and capable of application to other domains of experience.

Generalization A broad summarizing statement. Generalizations are warranted by the data gathering processes and conceptual specification that has preceded them. Forming generalizations is the process by which the scientist uses observations of the concrete particular to explain the world at large. A set of generalizations may constitute a formal theory used to make predictive statements about the future.

Hypothesis A conjectural statement of the relationship between two or more variables. Hypotheses are usually directional insofar as the degree of


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