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Little Listicles #3 (1-1)

1 major thing I learned, 1 insight/early idea

This is the third in a weekly series of “little listicles”. I am still strongly disliking the title of this series, and I still haven’t figured out a better alternative yet. You can read more about my commitment to this kind of writing here.

If you are receiving this post via email and you don’t want to receive it every week, I think you can change your settings or something.

1 major thing I learned

Breaking news: Not all scientific research has a hypothesis and tried to disprove it with experiments. There are many kinds of research that have experiments at all. These kinds of research often have open-ended research questions that are neither proven nor dis-proven e.g. “How are people coping with the pandemic?”. I knew about this kind of research, but I thought it still had to have a hypothesis that you look to disprove. Not the case!

1 insight / early idea

In the reading for one of my classes this week from Research Design (RD): Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods, Approaches by J. Creswell, I learned about various categories of philosophical worldviews that are held by researchers. These worldviews determine their approach to research. This sounds simple now that I write it, but it took me a bit to really get it, then I thought of a nice analogy.

Many programming languages have the concept of a variable, but the details of how a variable behaves and what it means in each language is slightly different. Similarly, scientific research contains certain tenets e.g. a research question, the research aims, and the research outcomes. Each worldview sees what constitutes these tenets slightly differently.

The early idea: People have different philosophical ideas about what constitutes computer science or, calling back to my previous work, what constitutes a programming language. There are certain tenets of computing and programming languages, and different communities within these areas see those tenets differently. What are all of these different worldviews about computer science and programming? Do I care?