• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

TOK Essay

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Stella Gregg TOK Essay Word Count- 1,510 May 2010 Session Title #3: Discuss the strengths and limitations of quantitative and qualitative data in supporting knowledge claims in the human sciences and at least one other area of knowledge. Humans seek ultimate truth in order to holistically understand the world in which we live. In reality, we cannot be certain whether or not we have found truth, though we can use data as evidence to support our claims about how the world works as true. Quantitative and qualitative data both can be used to verify our knowledge claims as true in different, yet equally valuable ways. Qualitative data is better suited to determine the most effective ways in categorizing essential or distinctive attributes for comparing and contrasting, though it cannot provide support as to how and why these things are categorized. Quantitative data, then, gives way to the analysis of change between strictly measurable elements of a study. Qualitative and quantitative data can provide the most substantial evidence for a knowledge claim if they are used together. The limitations of qualitative data can be reinforced by quantitative data, and vice-versa. Through studies in the human sciences and natural sciences, the usefulness and setbacks of qualitative and quantitative data can be seen. A knowledge claim, in my opinion, is only valid if it can be used in the progress of humanity. ...read more.

Middle

On the qualitative side, cognitive psychology is the study of internal mental processes used in order to understand behavior.1 Cognitive psychologist Aaron T. Beck developed a theory that depression and anxiety disorders are caused by cognitive distortions (errors of thinking) such as; selective abstraction (one only focuses and judges themselves on their failures, not their successes), overgeneralization (apply one failure to all situations), magnification (one exceedingly focuses on or emphasizes one failure), and absolutist thinking (perfectionist, never satisfied with oneself).2 This theory has been supported with qualitative data, though cannot be supported with quantitative data. You cannot measure "failure" on a universal scale, and neither can you measure the problems of "depression" or "anxiety" on a universal scale, so the type of data fits with the type of problem. The strengths of qualitative data, then, lie in its ability to look beyond measurable, concrete data, into abstract data such as thought processes and emotion, but it is so ambiguous that it could be left to anyone's personal interpretation. Personal interpretation is the last thing you want to support a claim as true, because some could agree and some could disagree, though no concrete "truth" is really reached. An immense amount of persuasive evidence is needed to validate a knowledge claim adequately, because humans can always find questionable weak points in an argument. Biological psychologists, on the other hand, would say that anxiety and depression disorders are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and that they can be treated with medication. ...read more.

Conclusion

The substances are categorized by properties such as pH level, water solubility, or the number of different types of molecules. This makes chemistry a very detached subject from human relevance. Sure, we can go on to make different compound and create new substances, but until that substance is tied to a significant human interpretation of its use, I do not feel that the substance is very valuable or relevant to me or to humanity in its progression. Qualitative data, such as the usefulness of a substance, or the emotional impact of the substance, would help to emphasize the usefulness of the substance to humanity. Though quantitative data can be useful in the field of empirical studies and technological advances, it does not easily relate to humanity, and thus alone, it is not strong enough to support a knowledge claim. In contrast, qualitative data is very useful in supporting abstract ideas and concepts, though alone it is too ambiguous to effectively support a knowledge claim. My experience in the American education system has been that teachers will reinforce the idea that quantitative and qualitative data should not be used together to support an argument. We are taught that these two forms of data are not compatible with one-another, and thus we shy away from utilizing their joint potential. The modern western world needs to understand that, together, qualitative and quantitative data can create the most difficult to disprove evidence that supports valuable information that aids in the progression of humankind. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. Arts contrasting sciences Essay on TOK

    Whilst he sees images of his past, his family and friends are not able to see or hear those images therefore Nash's perception has been substantially deceived.

  2. Free essay

    IB TOK essay

    Martin Creed controversially won this award in 2001 with 'The Lights Going on and Off'. Whilst the judges unanimously believed that his piece deserved to win, much of the general public even questioned whether it was in fact art.9 When considering a piece of artwork there is no definitive truth

  1. Should Chemical and Biological Weapons be banned?

    Also the assumption of getting a complete ban of both storage and manufacture of CBW is extremely unrealistic. As some nations or organizations which sales and buys these weapons will go from doing so "in the light to doing the same in the dark".

  2. TOK Essay 3

    Though we have gotten very far with this theory, into the billions and it has worked, there are always ways it can be proven wrong. Based on the fact that this theorem is mostly inductive reasoning, it is not certain.

  1. Art assignment TOK

    To be able to understand it better one has to know at what point in time was it made so when you see a painting of a steamboat knowing that the painting was made just after it was invented would give you a much different understanding than if it was made yestaerday.

  2. Discuss the strengths and limitations of quantitative and qualitative data in supporting knowledge claims ...

    These reactions are extremely important in the field of psychology as they allow experts to understand how to increase the lifestyle of people and this information can't be recorded quantitatively only qualitatively.

  1. Tok essay 2009

    si durante el an�lisis del objeto nos falto interpretar algo sobre este, por m�s m�nimo que sea, nuestro an�lisis ser� diferente al de otro sujeto que lo haya percibido. Estamos, lamentablemente, limitados a nuestra realidad, a nuestro contexto y a nuestros conocimientos para ver la realidad de las cosas como podamos.

  2. Extended Essay. How do social class and gender affect the pursuit of happiness ...

    What was important was Catherine?s willingness to give up what she cared for most because she knew it was better for herself, her family, and her image. Catherine may or not be considered selfish in this image, but the fact of the matter is that her choice was what changed Heathcliff into a monster.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work