000419-071 Ochoa, Melissa Mr.Dunn TOK P.

2 External Assesment 20 April 2011 Word Count: 1,259 What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that make them convincing? Valid and Reliable Theories The human race has undergone a revolutionary level of change in the past few centuries; whether it be the development of scientific theories such as Copernicus’ heliocentric theory or Freud’s stages of psychosexual development. A theory can be defined

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as “a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations” (Weiten 38). The use of and trust in scientific theories can be accredited to the extensive amount of research and evidence supplied. Intricate studies using the scientific method have also led to exemplary scientific development, most of which we can relate to our everyday lives. When it comes to the advancement of Areas of Knowledge such as the Human and Natural Sciences, theories must be accurate, credible, and convincing to avoid disapproval or scrutiny from other scientists. Experiments must have trustworthy sources and rely on abundant amounts of previous research and testing in order to form laws and theories dealing with either the physical world and the phenomena of the laws of nature or the human mind and behavior. Both qualitative and quantitative data found should be both valid and reliable in order for the theory to be plausible. In order for this to be possible, variables should be controlled and

they are now able to predict and explain many things such as seasons. With the information scientists have learned. which is also well known as the scientific method. which greatly contributes to the certainty and effectiveness of a theory. This has now become common knowledge due to the technology. The quantitatively appealing aspects of the Area of Knowledge of the Natural Sciences make results thorough and exact. some theories may be disproved or lose value as a scientific truth. measured and recorded precisely.000419-071 isolated. be revised or refined by scientific advancements or be immediately disapproved. and data scientists have gathered to observe and analyze. . and lunar eclipses. The effectiveness of theories in the natural sciences can be associated with their consistent use of quantitatively proven data and repetition of the testing used to obtain this information. and experiments should be repeated to ensure accurate results. be used in future scientific advancements. This 2 multi-step process allows experiments to be controllable. These three key factors that the scientific method brings greatly aid in the convincingness of a theory as they amplify their quantitative proof. A prime example of a theory in the sciences which has been considered convincing and reliable is the way planets in our solar system revolve and rotate around the Sun. bringing factual appeal to people. procedures. tides. scientists may be a step closer to identifying or explaining the functions or reasons behind different processes and phenomena. As technology and laws are modified or improved. This domain of science relies on the empirical aspect and systematic way of studying things called inductivism. precisely measurable and eventually have the option of being repeatable. By following the exact procedure and proving the hypothesis. The convincingness of a particular investigation and its results determines whether it will become a theory.

A social observation was conducted by a researcher. Another example of a theory developed in the human sciences that can be considered convincing although it is frequently criticized is Freud’s psychosexual developmental theory. case studies or surveys. perception and reason to be manipulated. factual and observational methods used in both the Areas of Knowledge of Natural Science and Human Science. the researcher may have trouble measuring the abstract concept precisely. There are several factors that may affect the convincingness of a theory that are not associated with the experimental. This theory was gradually developed after a series of case studies and observational findings supported the hypotheses. Factors that can influence . The human sciences are primarily convincing due to the fact that one can relate the behaviors described in certain theories to oneself or those around us.000419-071 Unlike the sector of Natural Science. He conducted an experiment in which groups were asked to wind some thread and others would wind the thread alone. so data collection techniques have been developed in order to 3 measure qualitative observations. The first and foremost is the ability for the language. This brought him to the conclusion that people had the tendency to work better and faster in a group as opposed to working alone (Weiten 677). The qualitative data that validates theories in this domain of science are directly correlated with the often used methods of complex studies such as naturalistic observations. who found another common tendency referred to as group dynamics. When testing hypotheses. Triplett. The United States Census Bureau uses nationwide surveys in order to track and analyze the progress and tendencies of the US population as a whole. the Human Sciences do not mainly rely on the use of quantitative evidence but rather develop techniques to precisely measure qualitative observations. This type of investigation on a large group of people by a reliable source makes it convincing to an individual.

or other ideas emerge. then scientists will be assured of their theory. The experimental methods used in the natural sciences as well as the complex studies exploited in the human sciences affect the convincingness of a certain theory.000419-071 the convincingness of a theory is the rhetorical skill with which it is presented and the tact with respect to popular beliefs and procedures which may be contradicted and threatened by 4 the theory. In order to refrain from biased claims. Some theories may be widely accepted at some point in time but as technology becomes more readily available. but if the findings fail to support the hypotheses then the scientists must correct. edit. Language is very ambiguous and has many twists and turns to it that can alter the essential basics of a theory. For example. Natural and Human Sciences. therefore making it seem either more or less convincing to an individual. these theories may have to be amended. both Areas of Knowledge. Pluto. In natural science the empirical facts and precise mathematical findings are confirmed and . The second is the ability for the researcher or audience to reason out a certain theory in a different manner. experiments are replicated by other scientists and discussed or approved by the scientific community before they can be shared with the public. So when does a proposed theory become an accepted theory? According to Popper “any theory that resists our best efforts to falsify it should be provisionally accepted” (Lagemaat 237). may encounter problem such as bias or the observer effect in which the way the scientist views a certain phenomenon can affect the results. The way a certain theory is worded can directly affect how it convinces a reader or listener when a theory is first presented to them. If the evidence found proves the hypothesis. the celestial body. was the 9th planet but recently this idea was altered and the word “planet” had to be redefined. or completely discard the theory. Although scientists are aware and attempt to avoid it.

000419-071 may develop into accepted theories. Quantitative and qualitative findings can refute a theory factually. In Human Sciences one can be convinced by observational findings and the theories can even be applied to personal life experiences for credibility. or they can back up a theory by providing proof based on statistics or recorded observations. providing detailed written evidence to a reader. . for these reasons people are convinced of said theories. When a theory is published in a science journal or textbook it will have already undergone the strictly accurate procedures of inductivism and 5 any discrepancy in the findings will have already been dealt with.

Weiten. 6th ed. Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Belmont. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Richard. Print. Psychology Themes and Variations. London: Wadsworth. 2005. .000419-071 Works Cited 6 Van De Lagemaat. Print. . Calif. 2004. Wayne.

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