Sources of Knowledge
Sources of Knowledge

Sources of Knowledge

Lead Author(s): Dr. Rafeedalie

Source: Edmodo

Student Price: FREE

In this homework assignment students will be asked to understand the meaning and source of knowledge as well as deductive and inductive reasoning.

Sources of Knowledge


Reading this Topic, the student will able to

1. Understand the meaning of Knowledge
2. Understand the various source of Knowledge
3. Understand the deductive and inductive reasoning
4. learn scientific method of Generating Knowledge

​What is Knowledge? 

Human body needs nutritious food for its healthy existence. Human mind also need nutritious food for their healthy and brilliant functioning. Hence Knowledge is considered as the food of mind. The definition of knowledge is ongoing debate among the philosophers in the field of epistemology. According to Plato Knowledge is justified true belief. Knowledge can be defined as a familiarity awareness or understanding of someone or something such as facts, information, descriptions or skills, which is acquired through experiences or education by perceiving, discovering or learning. Any new information acquired by an organism through formal, informal or non formal way of inquiry can be termed as knowledge. Knowledge make individuals more strength and confident in their activity. The activity of research builds new knowledge, theory or formulates generalization.

Ways/Source of Acquiring Knowledge 

Curious to know about new things is the main motivating factor for searching new knowledge. When a person feel disequilibrium regarding any matter of content, s/he start search for reaching valid conclusion regarding the matter of doubt. The process of clarification leads them to equilibration in their cognition. For the purpose of getting new information the human beings are using following ways to accumulate new knowledge.

​Sensory Perception 

Senses are the gate ways of knowledge. Five senses help an individual to get primary information regarding any object, individual or events and so forth. For example, students can see an experiment conducted by the teacher, hear the explanation, touch the object or product, smell the output, taste the product etc. Through this five activity (five sense organs) or any one activity (single sense organ) students are able to construct and verify information regarding the experiment conducted. Hence sensory perceptions are the one important source or means of acquiring knowledge. In the case of a researcher, the sensory perceptions are important to them to collect information and verify the authenticity and originality of acquired knowledge.

​Logical Reasoning

​Logical reasoning is another way of acquiring Knowledge. It is related to brainy functioning. Ignorance and blind believes made man as a sleeping brains, later, curiosity and search for cause and effect relationship paved the way of unfolding natural truths and facts. People become modern and developed by the way they approached the matters through logical reasoning. Deductive as well as inductive reasoning are emerged by the time as methods of logical reasoning. Individuals may infer things through deductive reasoning, abstract thinking, finding relationship between events and variables and so forth. For example a competent person can make valid conclusion regarding the nature and consequences of certain events by observing behavior of individuals or analyzing chain of events, statement and attitude of national leaders and so forth. Through the logical reasoning a researcher can deduct and infer information regarding the research problem.

​Deductive Reasoning 

It is the earlier philosophical method of Logical Reasoning. Categorical syllogism is considered as the old systematic method of logical reasoning. The famous philosopher Aristotle developed it as Deductive method of problem solving. Moving from General assumptions to specific application, that means the general to particular principle (DGP). It can be understood by the explanation of categorical syllogism given below.

​Categorical Syllogism 

Syllogistic reasoning is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning for drawing a valid conclusion based on two or more propositions. Categorical syllogism consists of three components; such as Major premise, Minor Premise, Conclusion. It establishes a logical relationship between them.

​Major Premise: it is a self evident assumption, previously established by metaphysical truth or dogmas. For example all men are mortal 

Minor Premise: it is a particular case related to the major premise. For example, Socrates is a man 

Conclusion: based on both premises conclusion and inference could be surly possible. For example Socrates is mortal

​Form the above example we can observe the general assumption in major premise; that is all men are mortal. Then leads to particular observation in minor premise that Socrates is a man and concludes that that’s why he is a mortal.

​Inductive Reasoning

​Later much creative criticism had been raised regarding the process drawing conclusion from general phenomenon. Because of the reason that there might be some dogmas and myths, baseless beliefs which had not been empirically proved but believed that, they are true and as well as had impacted the conclusion. So it leads to creating unreliable and error information to the people. Hence many centuries later Francis bacon advocated the inductive method of reasoning or problem solving which had kicked back the limitation of the deductive method. It is the process of specific observations of phenomenon which leads to generalization. Here individuals arrive to conclusions after the empirical verification of many individual observations of a common phenomenon. Hence there is no possibility to adopt any dogmas or myth as a foundation of knowledge. Here the problem solver ensures the mortality of the human beings or any organism in particular case. For example a person analyzing the life history of great personalities, such as Mahathma Gandhi, Nehru, Maulana Abul kalam azad, Abrahaam Lincon and so forth. S/he could be reach a conclusion that even though these personalities had a strong back up of the political power they could not overcome the death. And there is no organism can be found on earth alive after a reasonable length of period. Hence it is concluded that every organism with soul or life should breathe its last after a while.


​There are several occasions where a researcher needs authoritative knowledge. All official information can be termed as authoritative knowledge. One can get information from concern authority regarding their concerned. Right to information act is a good example for the same. If any individual need authentic information regarding any authority s/he can file a query regarding his information concerned through RTI to concerned authority. This process ensures an information seeker to get authentic knowledge from authority. For example if a researcher needs information regarding the enrollment, dropout rate, literacy rate, budget allocation to different educational sector, s/he can be collect information from the concern authority regarding the above. The information provided by the concerned authority would be the knowledge from authority or authoritative knowledge.


Traditions are another important source of knowledge. Much social related knowledge are preserved and transmitted through traditions. For example social skills, values, social functions are entirely routed in traditions of the society. Traditions have local as well as national impact. A researcher can get information regarding the indigenous treatment system, folklore arts, skilled based traditional social class are available from social traditions. There much information which is largely depends on traditions.


Personal as well as professional experience of an individual contributes much in his knowledge. Personal experience in family, society, and neighborhood taught humans many lessons regarding the behavior, adjustment, social dealings, patience and so forth. Professional experiences make an individual perfectly professional. Knowledge of matters regarding to be performed or not to be do in personal as well as professional situation create through experiences. Learning by doing is also come under this category.

​Naturalistic Inquiry 

Thirst for knowledge is the uniqueness of human being. When s/he wants to solve a certain problem or confront a curious situation. S/he starts searching for the solution of the problem in naturalistic way. The final solution will be found out by getting new information regarding the problem through the inquiry. For example a researcher felt a problem of why the students of backward areas are less enrolled in higher education. The researcher may formulate possible reasons and possibilities of the problem. Empirically collect information from the original sources, s/he may go to the community location and approach the concerned subject of the study and their social situation. Through this inquiry process the researcher get much valuable information and thereby infer the solution of the problem. The knowledge construction through this process can be termed as naturalistic Inquiry.

​Trial and Error 

Trial and error is one of the ways of acquiring new knowledge. The term trial and error is contributed by famous psychologist E.L. Thorndike. Individuals learn more things through trial and error process. Knowledge related to practical, professional, skilled and semi skilled professions are largely depends on this source of knowledge. For example knowledge of use of computer, smart phone, driving, playing cricket, football, teaching etc can be acquired through trial and error.

​Scientific approach 

Knowledge can be created or accumulated through various means. Scientific approach is very important means of knowledge acquisition. Scientific approach ensures the reliability and rationality of the information or knowledge acquired. The knowledge constructed through scientific approach has following features.

​1. Body of Knowledge

2. Universal application

3. Empirically proved

4. Experimental

5. Measurable

6. Observable

7. Trustworthiness

8. Objectivity

9. Validity

10. Reliability

11. Predictability

​Scientific Method in Developing Knowledge 

Scientific method ensures the reliability and validity of the knowledge constructed through its process. The adoption of the scientific method eliminates the biasness as well as the fake information regarding the matter of concern. John Dewey (1938) identified the following steps for scientific method which constitute the elements of deductive and inductive reasoning.

​1. Identification and definition of problems 

2. Formulation of hypotheses 

3. Collection, organization and Analysis of data 

4. Formulation of conclusion 

5. Verification, Rejection, or Modification of hypotheses


Knowledge revealed from insight is another means of knowledge acquisition. Archimedes’s Principles, Lord Buddha are the living examples of acquired knowledge through intuitions. Many of the life situations we also had experienced intuitive knowledge to solve our life problems. Intuitive knowledge can be acquired through following process.

1. Preparation

In this step all available information regarding the problem to be solved must be

assembled and analyzed in depth. Continuous attempts are made to found out solutions

and the process is set aside.

2. Incubation

No intentional attempt mad e to solve the problem. It come to mind while playing,

cooking or at bathroom and so forth.

3. Illumination

Illumination is the process of intuiting many ideas in the mind of the problem solver

unexpectedly. It may be the result of preparation as well as the relaxed mood of

incubation period. The script writers, poets, writers, scientist are getting ideas or

knowledge in this manner.

4. Verification

After receiving the idea the problem solver should verify or test the validity and

reliability of the information empirically.

The level of attaining knowledge through intuition must be depends on the motivation as

well as the intelligence level of problem solver.


Learning from the original sources is another method of acquiring knowledge. In modern era Lot of information are available at finger tips. Learning can be done through online as well as off line mode. One can depend the formal classroom as well as non formal way of learning for acquiring knowledge. Stream wise systematic knowledge are disseminating in formal classrooms. For example, the subjects like engineering, medicine, education, psychology, statistics and so forth are studying in formal classrooms. If an individual is not able to attend the regular classroom for his educational purpose he can avail knowledge through distance learning. However there are many doors are opens for accessing knowledge throughout the world. Learner can search primary sources or secondary sources of information for accumulating knowledge. Learning can be done selectively as per the requirements of the knowledge seeker.


Research is another way of acquiring knowledge. It is the dependable as well as means of acquiring reliable knowledge of concerned. That is why research is called as search for truth or developing knowledge, theory. From the human history, As result of research a series invention has been taken place from the dawn of human generation. It directly impacted the lifestyles of human beings. Hence, nowadays days several authority people are depend on research to collect necessary knowledge of their issues are concerned.



Define concept of Knowledge


Write the features of scientific approaches


Differentiate between inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning


Site an example for categorical syllogism


Explain scientific method of generating knowledge


Discus the ways and means of acquiring knowledge


Assistant Professor,
MANUU, CTE, Srinagar