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Vee Heuristic diagram

Developed by Bob Gowin to show the links between conceptual and methodology and how they
interact. It is a useful technique for analysis of documents, practical sessions and lectures.

Thinking Doing
Theoretical/ Conceptual Focus Question Methodology

Philosophy/Accepted views Value/Claims

Theories Knowledge/ claims

Principles/ Constructs/Paradigm Transformations/Changes

Concepts Facts/Records


An example of the use of the Vee Heuristic in laboratory investigation of cells is shown below

Claims: You can tell the difference
Theory: Organisms are made up
between animal and plant cells by
of cells. Cells are small living
looking at them down a microscope
units. Animal and plant cells are
different. Question: Can you
Knowledge claims: cells contain
collect cells, stain
certain bits the same like nucleus,
Principles: Living things include them and see
cytoplasm but there are different bits
bacteria, plants and animals so all differences between
like cell walls and organelles.
must be made of cells. animal and plant
Transformations: Animal cells do
Concepts – Words: cell, living,
not have a cell wall or vacuole – the
microscope, similar, different,
hole in the middle but all have the
stains, organelles
large blob called a nucleus

Record: see drawings drawn from
the microscope

Objects and events: We have cells in our cheeks. We can remove those cells by scraping. They can
be stained and put under a microscope.
Onions have cells in the layers. We can remove a thin strip of that layer. It can be stained and put under
the microscope.
By looking at both and using a book for reference I can see the difference in the animal cell (mine) and
the plant cell (onion).
The big differences are easy but they’re some I cannot see but must accept.