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State of Knowledge Paper: Rules and Predetermined Solutions (Dissertation Sample)


the task of the paper was to discuss the state of knowledge founded on research.


State of Knowledge Paper

State of Knowledge Paper
Undertaking research is fundamentally like solving puzzles; it is whereby puzzles have rules and have predetermined solutions. The conspicuous feature of undertaking research, as demonstrated by several theorists, is to discover the known in advance. The fact is that the range of projected outcomes is small when compared to the possible outcomes of a given research. When the result of research does not fall into the estimated result scope, then the research becomes a failure, which means that the “significance” is unreached. Therefore, the spread of researches that find the anticipated results guarantees that the paradigm or theory will flourish and is publishable. One of the aspects that the scientific community attains with a paradigm is the criterion of selecting puzzles, whereas the paradigm is a given, that can be implicit to have solutions (Ritzer, 2015. pp.10).
In his landmark book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn discusses science within the context of paradigm. He argues the paradigm change throughout history; he calls the change paradigm shifts or revolutions. Kuhn claims that scientists typically take part in what he refers to “normal science” in which research is powerfully founded on one or more past scientific accomplishment. The community recognizes these accomplishments for a time because they provide the basis for further practice. The accomplishments underscored by Kuhn are the “paradigms” (such as Newton’s theory of gravity). In his book, Kuhn explains the third phase, which is a scientific revolution. He emphasizes that the overturning of the previous paradigm will yield a new paradigm. Kuhn argues that revolutionary science is vastly different from the normal science. Normal science is about the compelling nature to fit scientific theories rather than the other way round. The author argues that the revolutions come about because of the crisis in the field of science. The revolutions completely and totally replace previous paradigms (Kuhn, 1996, p.34-43).
Normal science is about the compelling nature to fit scientific theories. Thus, normal science is about gathering new data, experiments, theories, and puzzle pieces, which will support a certain theory. Normal science creates a puzzle that results in problem solving, whereby the problems are mainly the puzzles. Furthermore, Kuhn argues that people undertake research because results add to the scope and accuracy with which the paradigm/theory is applicable (Kuhn, 1996, p.34-43). The manner of obtaining results typically remains very much in doubt, which is usually the challenge of the puzzle. Accordingly, solving the puzzle may be fun, and specialist puzzle-solvers make a nice living off it. To group a puzzle (as an authentic research question), a given problem should be characterized by more than the guaranteed solution. However, the solutions must be consistent with model presumptions (Kuhn, 1996, p. 34-43).
In the article Discrimination in a Low-Wage Labor Market: A Field Experiment, the Kuhn element comes out clear as the study is founded on experiment. The study wants to discover the known regarding racial discrimination in the low-wage markets and determines how it results in economic inequality in the community. Many theories have argued that discrimination remains a significant cause of economic inequality. The study is a platform for increasing the existing the knowledge of discrimination. It supports the Kuhn’s argument in his book that research chiefly entails solving puzzles (Pager, Western, &Bonikowski, 2009 pp.778). The study has a problem that constitutes the main inquiry of the authors. The theory examined by the authors is that there is discrimination in the low-wage labor market. It is the puzzle, as described by Kuhn, which needs a solution. The solution comes through the experiment undertaken to prove the assumption. The study investigated racial discrimination in the labor, low-wage labor markets by comparing the wages of minorities and whites through statistical methods and by controlling human capital characteristics. In the study, it became clear that discrimination existed in the low-wage labor markets, resulting in economic inequality and that the minority suffer the most. The results of the study came as expected; they were in line with Kuhn’s arguments. The study creates knowledge because it provides facts on an issue unproved before. The new knowledge brings an understanding on the issue. The results of the study came through a methodology and experiments supporting Kuhn’s idea of solving puzzles.
“Normal science” in Kuhn’s perspective is a kind of science that works within the existing scientific paradigm in the community. Pure rationalist cognitive reasoning does not do the type of science; it is through inference made within an existing paradigm of thought that presents the knowledge acquired in scientifically sound way. The paradigms changes do not become a developmentimmediately from less to more knowledge. Rather, in the change of paradigms/theories, the puzzles, and tools along with canons of possible solutions do change. Before the paradigms solve diverse problems for those working after the paradigm, change has taken place (Kuhn, 1998, p.43).
Kuhn argues that the idea of science as the slow addition of knowledge via experiments of scientists; through the ages is a myth. Somewhat, the accumulation is knowledge entails the collection and explanation of experiments that support the present paradigm, even if the pioneering scientists did not have the specific research objectives their experiments are called upon to prove (Kuhn, 1996, p. 34-43). This is evident in the article Incarceration and Stratification, which attempt to build knowledge on incarceration through past studies. The article uses past studies to solve the problem of incarceration, which is a puzzle that requires a solution. The study shows that incarceration rates are higher among the most vulnerable in the society, especially the minority population. It is the unproved knowledge. The research attempts to solve the puzzle (Wakefield & Uggen, 2010 p.390). The main problem in the article’s that needs solution will be the role of incarceration in the increase of inequality in sectors such as health, education, labor market, and family. The majority of the studies used in the research found there is inequality brought incarceration. The article builds knowledge through reviewing past studies to solve a puzzle that has been long contested in the society (Gaylord-Harden & Cunningham, 2009. p.532).
In addition, Kuhn’s idea of scientific revolution is that he refutes the concept of the progress of science in the field of truth. Rather, Kuhn believes that there is penultimate progress within “normal science” as more and more of the puzzles are resolved. Nonetheless, the ultimate progress is in the eye of the beholder, the user, as Beckett, Nyrop, and Fingst (2006) found out. Therefore, as paradigm changes, science evolves from a primitive beginning, but there is no evolution towards anything. Kuhn, thus, denies that science has a teleology past that of local expansion of the understanding of the world within a paradigm. In Kuhn’s Normal Science, it entails puzzle solving. Such puzzle-solving does not regard the truth, but describe the way things work in the world by utilizing concepts and language from the reigning paradigm(s) as well as the scientific theories along with theories that are descriptive not explanatory (Kuhn& Hacking, 2012. p.59).
The article Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty ? builds knowledge through scientific theories using a systematic study. Through the study, knowledge comes from examining the outcome of the study. The puzzle, in this case, is discrimination of women for a job during hiring, which hinges on their motherhood. The study attempts...
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