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What is Knowledge?

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Tiffany Ball

on 13 September 2016

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Transcript of What is Knowledge?

What is Knowledge?

What is Knowledge?
Aspects of
Knowledge Production: Methods
What are methods in the sciences?
What are methods in the social sciences?
What are methods in the humanities?
Aspects of Knowledge Production: Motivations
Thought Experiement:

What arguments are being made by these headlines?

The Atlantic, 2012
Salon, 2014
CNBC, 2014
a dynamic conversation, a dialogue
changing over time (example: eggs)
not just objective facts created in a vaccuum
subjective experience
asking how we know what we know
thinking about methods
What is a method?
A plan of action, a systemic way of doing things
counting, quantitative
the scientific method
observations of people
archival work
reading (closely)
discourse analysis
finding patterns
might not be explicit
Why is the person writing this?
What's the purpose?
to find out something "true"
to question a widely held belief (critique)
to protest a way of thinking
to convince or persuade
Aspects of Knowledge Production: Results
What did the study show or prove?
dispute an idea or way of thinking about things
corroborate theories or challenge them
nothing proven but new questions raised

Aspects of Knowledge Production: Research Questions
What did the study try to explain, argue, or discover?
What makes a good research question?
can't be answered with a simple yes or no
can be explained from numerous positions
can be researched through different methods

Science: What environmental factors cause lung cancer?
Social Sciences: How does racism affect the lives of teens in Detroit?
Humanities: How do people talk about or write about women in the 1930s?
an all encompassing question that draws on all the aspects of knowledge production

the "So what" question, the stakes

how does this connect to a bigger picture?
Science: If we figure out what causes lung cancer, we can treat it or prevent it.

Social Science: If we find x about racism in Detroit, we could recommend y as a social policy.

Humanities: Women were imagined as x in the past. This idea is still around today/has changed to y.
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