A retrospect to my previous article, which titled, “The Exodus of Scientific Papers, publication and caution on false articles”, places key emphasis on the procedures and rules governing knowledge creation in contemporary times. Though Scientific method is not an absolute process in the knowledge creation process, however, it is acknowledged to be the most universal standard guide accepted in a greater number of disciplines, as far as, knowledge creation and development in the 21st Century is concerned.
The adherence to scientific ‘method’ of knowledge creation, requires an in-depth understanding towards the rightful application of the various methods of the scientific process, in a correct context and order, which is a scholarly exercise that could not be underestimated.
Any qualified scholar in their various fields of study and practice, acknowledges with understanding that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets an observation of a phenomenon to create knowledge, thereby very necessary to rely on a procedure of inquiry, which involves the following basic elements;
- Characterization (Which comprises of observation, definitions and measurement of the subject of inquiry)
- Hypotheses (Is the foundation of theory design, hypothetical explanations and measurement of the subject)
- Predictions (Inductive and deductive reasoning from the hypothesis or theory)
- Experimentation (The tests of all the above elements)
The accurate application of these methods, requires intelligence, imagination and creativity. This even becomes a very complex exercise, when the phenomenon for investigation is increasingly sophisticated in characterization. It therefore presents a requirement of high level of intelligence and experience towards the rationalization and adoption of various methods in their correct context, taken into consideration the strength and limitation of each method for the subject of measurement, having an in-depth understanding of the controlling factors of the investigative phenomenon. It must be further noted, each method to adopt for research design, goes with a corresponding technical instrument of study termed as methodical technique, which compliments the process for effective research design. Such a compounding exercise is termed as theory of methodology.
It is of these essence, as a general perspective, modern University education places serious emphasis on students’ mastery of methodology in both their first degree and second degree programmes in most disciplines as a critical academic assessment and evaluation exercise, rather than the conceptual development capacity of students, which is expected to develop the students’ skill in both the ontological and epistemological ability for knowledge creation; because in the community of scholars, it is believed, the quality and credence of any argument is highly dependent on its sources, as to how it was obtained, rather than how it was presented.
Since the author’s disciplinary strength is within the School of Social Science and to some extent Humanities, his brief discussion of major scientific methods will fall largely within these two domains.
- As a student aspiring to master the theory of methodology within the Social Science and Humanity domain, and in your quest for a phenomenon inquiry, the question will always be when is it appropriate to adopt either Abductive Method, Deductive Method or Inductive methods of theoretical design?
- When and how do one adopt grounded theory methods? What are the limitations and strength in favour of conceptual argument?
- When and how do one adopt Case study method, Survey method, Archival method or Field experimental method? Students are required to establish cogent reasons for such choices of methods to apply in the scientific study?
- When and how does one use Exploratory method, Descriptive method or Explanatory method for scientific presentation? Students are required to provide cogent reasons for such methods adoption and application?
- How, one does comes to a conclusion of the choice of paradigms for scientific presentation? Major existing paradigms in Social science discipline, ‘Positivism’ or ‘Post-Positivism’: Ontology or Epistemology: Functionalism or Interpretivism: Radical Structuralism or Radical Humanism?
- When and how do one apply qualitative and quantitative methods of measurements? Students are required to establish reasons for such choices of methods application?
- Within the framework of quantitative method of study, when and how does one adopt cross-sectional field survey technique or longitudinal field survey technique?
In conclusion, the article is simply designed in brief to serve as a basic learning guide, and the road map for students desiring to delve into the theoretical world of methodology within the discipline of Social Science and Humanities as a component of the knowledge creation system.
Emmanuel Tweneboah Senzu, Ph.D., is professor of Economics and Finance, with speciality in monetary economics, policy development, Econometrics, investment and risk analysis. Member of World Economic Association. President of Frederic Bastiat Institute Africa, Fellow of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Makeni-SL, Faculty Fellow of University of Management and Technology, Sierra Leone. Research Fellow of Monarch University, College of Economics & Finance, Switzerland. Research Fellow of West Africa Monetary Institute, Ghana.