Module 1 Key Terms and Definitions

abductive reasoning: beginning with a set of observations, then seeking the most likely explanation for what was observed.

Code of Ethics: standards for professional practice, such as the NASW Code of Ethics for professional social work practice.

cognition: mental processes (thinking, experiencing, sensing) involved in knowledge and understanding.

cognitive dissonance: uncomfortable experience of inconsistencies in thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes; often motivates changing one or more of these cognitions.

critical thinking: forming judgments or conclusions on the basis of objective analysis and evaluation of information.

deductive reasoning: deriving a specific conclusion based on application of logical processes, assembling a series of truthful general premises.

empiricism: belief that knowledge is primarily derived from sensory experiences and observation.

epistemology: theory of knowledge, its nature, and how it is acquired.

ethnoepistemology: theory of knowledge based on acceptance of all human experience and epistemology as being equally valid; strongly based in anthropology.

fallacious argument: logic based on faulty reasoning, resulting in faulty conclusions.

inductive reasoning: deriving a general conclusion or hypothesis based on a set of specific observations.

linguistic determinism: the limits on knowledge imposed by the structure and contents of a language.

metacognition: the act of thinking about or being aware of thought processes and contents (thinking about cognition)

positivism: belief in the possibility of rational/logical or scientific proof of all justifiable knowledge.

pseudoscience: premises or assertions that have the appearance of being based on science without their being based on the application of strong scientific method.

qualitative research: based on a belief that knowledge is socially constructed, explores individuals’ perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, experiences, and meaning-making to derive general conclusions or develop hypotheses.

quantitative research: based on objective measurement for variables of interest to answer research questions/test hypotheses about variables or their inter-relationships.

research integrity: a commitment to honesty and assuming responsibility for research conduct, resulting in replicable, reliable research results.


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