Major Characteristics of Scientific Knowledge: There are different types of researches and research methods that may be considered by a researcher. But no doubt, the results of a scientific research are more readily acceptable by the majority of the public. The major reason why this is the case is because of the features which scientific research works carry. The major characteristics of scientific knowledge includes the following: Empirical, Objective, Accuracy, Systematic, Ethical consideration, Reliable, Predictable, Replicable, Controlled and have a definite objective.
Major Characteristics of Scientific Knowledge/ Research
1. Empirical: A cardinal feature of a scientific research work is that it is empirical. Simply put, this means that it can be verifiable. Thus for a work to qualify as a scientific work, persons should be able to verify the truth or otherwise of the said research work. Thus with a knowledge of the materials and tools used by the original research and an understanding of the research procedure, any third party with the requisite knowledge should be able to verify the said research work.
It is only when such research work is verified and the results are seen to confirm with the original objectives and statements of the researcher that it may be correctly termed as a scientific research. Where a work cannot be verified with credible facts, evidence or materials, it cannot be said to qualify as a scientific research.
2. Objectivity: All scientific knowledge are objective as opposed to being subjective. This simply means that they are considered from the general perspective as opposed to being considered from the personal perspective. The purpose of a research work is usually to solve a problem or give explanation to a problem.
This makes it very important for such work to be conducted from an objective point of view. Also, a work will get easily verified and serve the general public more easily when it is conducted objectively. A research work bearing and carrying the personal positions, feelings, untested ideas and idiosyncrasies of a researcher cannot thus qualify as a scientific research.
3. Ethical: Science does not exist on an island of it’s own, but exists within the framework of the human environment. Thus true and acceptable science must in some ways, put into consideration the values, morals, and ethical considerations of the society.
Any research work that gravely objects to key and fundamental tenets and beliefs of the society is greatly objected to and as such loses general acceptance. For instance, the sacred nature of life is a core value in the society, thus a research work that threatens this core principle will be stiffly objected to and would ordinarily lose its scientific flavour.
4. Systematic Exploration: Scientific research require verification and the only way a scientific research can be verified is where there is a systematic exploration which can be repeated. This means that a key feature of a scientific research is that it follows some particular steps and procedures and if these steps and procedures are repeated by any other person within a specific condition, the same result can be attained.
This is why scientific research normally involves well laid out steps and detailed introductory explanation on the conditions within which the research has been carried out. This systematic exploration mechanisms laid down allows for a detailed and accurate repetition of the research work and the materialization of a similar result.
5. Reliable: It is a key feature of a research work qualified as scientific to be reliable. Reliable in this sense means that any other person may replicate similar results by following the systematic procedures laid down. If a research work cannot be relied upon by others and a similar result replicated, then it cannot be qualified as a scientific research.
This is why there is a need for a systematic exploration in scientific research works so that these laid down steps can be easily followed and a similar result attained. It is only when this is present that such research work my be considered as being reliable by the majority of the public and also readily accepted.
6. Accuracy: All scientific research works must have this all-important feature of being accurate. A research work usually lays down the goals at the beginning stage and the results aimed to achieve at the end. This end result must be attained a 100 percent. The precise nature of science increases the reliability of scientific research works.
Science does not leave room for speculations and doubts as these may prove to be really costly in the long run. Any research work that does not show precision and exactitude cannot does qualify to be considered a scientific research work.
7. Predictability: A good scientific research work should be predictable. This simply means that at the very early stages of the research work, a researcher should be able to predict the outcome. Due to the precise nature of science and scientific works, they are very easily predictable. Science does not allow for huge uncertainties and unknown variables. All unknown variables and uncertainties must therefore be eliminated so as to allow for a more predictable and reliable result.
8. Replicated: A scientific work will be of little to no relevance of it cannot be replicated following a systematic exploration/ procedure laid down by the originator. The possibility of replicating a particular research work and attaining a result which is exact with the original research is what makes for the general acceptability of scientific works. The fact that a research conducted in a lab in Europe can be replicated in Africa and a similar result attained qualifies such research as being scientific. If after the due procedures and steps are followed, a similar result cannot be attained, then the research work cannot be termed scientific.
9. Controlled: All scientific research works are usually examined under a controlled environment. This allows for specific variables to be known as the knowledge of these variables allow for ease of repeating the said research work. All of the controlled variables must be made known so that a person who wishes to carry on the research can do so and attain a very similar result.
10. Objective/ Goal: Lastly, all scientific research works have a specific objective or goal as the end result in the mind of the researcher. Research are not just carried out without any objective or goal in mind. A research work is usually carried out with the aim of solving some world problems or making some new innovations. Thus, all scientific research must have a goal as the end product. This goal serves as the driving force for such research work.
This is a brief analysis of the major characteristics of a scientific research work. Any research that does not meet with these requirements cannot thus be rightly considered scientific.