Notes on Inquiry Skills

Paul Grobstein
March 2007

  1. Distinguish between "observations" and "interpretations/stories"

    I saw A,B,C and think therefore D
    I saw D

  2. Recognize that "interpretations/stories" are one of multiple ways to account for observations

    A,B,C might mean D, or E, or F

  3. Recognize that multiple "interpretations/stories" for a given set of observations are not only acceptable but may be valuable

    1. Different ones may be most useful in different circumstances
    2. Different ones may fit more comfortably with other "interpretations/stories" deriving from other sources
    3. Combinations of different ones may motivate new questions/ observations/interpretations/stories

  4. Recognize that there is a valuble social character/interplay in science/inquiry
  5. Recognize that "interpretations/stories" in turn affect observations, and so diverse perspectives are valuable
  6. Recognize that, in light of the above, no "interpretation/story" or set of observations in unchallengable
  7. Derive pleasure/satisfaction from the inevitably ongoing process of inquiry as not only discovery but also creation


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