General scientific methods of knowledge: what applies to them?

The article describes the main general scientific methods of cognition. We will look at each one in detail in order to form a complete picture.

Little about the topic

Consideration of general scientific methods of cognition will begin with a simple classification. Note that it is not so extensive. The main milestone for this process is the fixation of two levels of knowledge of information by man, namely theoretical and empirical. On this basis, absolutely all general scientific methods of knowledge can be divided into three basic groups:

  • theoretical knowledge;
  • empirical and theoretical knowledge;
  • empirical knowledge.

Consider everything in order, but let's begin, perhaps, with empirical methods.

General scientific methods of empirical knowledge

To begin with, we note that the main point here is sensory cognition, which is most often visual. It is aimed at obtaining knowledge from the outside world with the help of certain material objects and devices. Many people mistakenly believe that observation is a passive process, but it is not.It is a purposeful activity that allows you to rely on the sensual abilities of a person and fix certain properties of objects.general scientific methods of cognition

General scientific methods of empirical knowledge have three distinctive features:

  • The first is a certain purposefulness, which can exist if there are hypotheses and initial assumptions.
  • The second feature is a regularity. It is understood that everything goes on a clear plan, and accordingly.
  • The third feature is that observation or another empirical process is always active. In other words, the researcher also directly participates in knowledge, using his knowledge.


The general scientific methods of scientific knowledge include an empirical description. Any observation is always described. Therefore, this method is slightly isolated. It allows you to fix with the help of artificial or natural language certain information about the objects of the world. The method of description is the empirical basis of all science. The main requirements for it are a complete, objective, and scientific description.

general scientific methods of scientific knowledge

It is divided into qualitative and quantitative. The latter uses the language of mathematics and various measurement methods. A qualitative description compares the data with a generally accepted standard.


All empirical and theoretical are the general scientific methods of cognition. We are considering their first subspecies. The experiment is more complicated than the description, but it includes it. During the experiment, the researcher is directly and very actively involved in the process. This type of research has characteristic features:

  • the experimenter can intervene at any time and influence the course of the study;
  • the ability to reproduce the experiment as many times as necessary to obtain the result;
  • the object can be observed in artificially created conditions for comprehensive study;
  • the ability to explore something in its purest form, neglecting random or unnecessary factors.

general scientific methods of theoretical knowledge

Thus, we understand that experiment is an empirical research method that provides the most accurate information and allows scientists to intervene in the process itself.

Analysis and synthesis

Next, we consider such general scientific and special methods of cognition, like logical ones. They can be used both on an empirical and theoretical level.

Analysis is a method of general scientific knowledge, consisting of logical methods of an empirical or theoretical nature, which allow us to consider all the elements of the object under study, its properties. The analysis is carried out at the initial stage in order to have a basis for further research and interrelations. There are three target forms of analysis:

  • division of the object of study into parts, followed by the study of properties and characteristics;
  • the selection of a group of characteristic features and properties;
  • separation of objects according to their general characteristics and characteristics.

The analysis ends with the fact that it is possible to reproduce the necessary process and analyze it by logical synthesis, where the main goal is to uncover certain patterns.

Synthesis is a general scientific and private scientific method of knowledge, which can be used in almost any field, as well as analysis. It consists in combining objects into a single whole or system.This is not just a mechanical union. It takes into account structural relationships and allows you to see the causal mechanisms from the outside. The result of this method manifests itself in some forms of summarizing information:

  • the creation of scientific concepts;
  • formulation of laws or patterns;
  • creating concepts.

Very often, due to the synthesis, an empirical theory may appear, which, for example, happened to the table of chemical elements of DI Mendeleev.

Methods of analysis and synthesis can not be applied separately, as they complement each other and are an integral part of a comprehensive study.


As a general scientific method of cognition of law, induction is very often used. It is based on the investigation of particular facts in order to arrive at a general conclusion or hypothesis. An important feature of the inductive method is that there is a recurrence of certain signs. Inductive conclusion concerns the general characteristics of the object of study, which were discovered after examining many special cases. This method is aimed at finding a unifying factor. Induction may be complete or incomplete.The first is based on the knowledge of all subjects, and the second may not be so full of information due to space-time restrictions.

Incomplete induction is of three types:

  1. A simple listing of facts regarding a limited number of events. Acts until a disproving case is found.
  2. Selection of facts from the general mass of information according to certain rules. Most often, this approach is used when conducting social. polls.
  3. The study is based on causal relationships within a certain phenomenon.

general scientific and special methods of knowledge

This is the simplest method of reasoning, thanks to which many discoveries were derived (the law of conservation of matter, the principle of uncertainty). Induction stimulates thinking and interacts with different areas of knowledge.


This method is based on the fact that there is a sufficient number of generalizing facts. Based on this, one can proceed to the study of particular moments. This method was used by well-known detectives, such as Colombo and Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the previous one, the result here is not deductive reasoning. As a result, the whole system can be obtained.Philosophical and general scientific methods of knowledge are difficult to imagine without deduction, which is based on empirical theories and principles, hypotheses and axioms.

Induction and deduction are inextricably linked, as they complement each other. Both that, and that method can be mistaken. At the same time, deduction cannot give a completely new knowledge, but, nevertheless, the role of this method is very large, and it is constantly growing, especially in two directions. The first is that which is connected with the world inaccessible to the human sensory perception (transient processes, microcosm). The second is mathematical and logical theories, which are derived from the deduction method.


The following general scientific method of cognition is abstraction, which is a special way of thinking. In this case, the researcher deliberately distracted from a number of characteristics of the object under study in order to concentrate on its special properties. As a result, various abstractions appear. Thanks to this method, you can select the main. Mathematical abstraction implies a distraction from sensory characteristics, such as taste, toughness, or softness.

Classification method

By the general scientific methods of theoretical knowledge should include classification.This is a method of scientific research, which consists in dividing and distributing a set of objects into subclasses according to specific characteristics. The basis of the classification is a logical chain.

There are three types of this method of knowledge:

  1. Artificial and natural classifications that depend on the degree of division. Essential classifications may carry or contain important information about the object. For example, mono lead table of periodic elements. Non-essential or artificial classifications make it possible to understand the essence of knowledge. For example, you can take a pointer to the library.
  2. Content and formal classification. The first is the oriented selection of some order in the elements. The second is focused on the disclosure of certain patterns.
  3. Descriptive and essential classification. The first concerns the fixation of the presence of a certain fact, and the second reveals the important characteristics of the object.


General scientific and private methods of knowledge are impossible without modeling. This is a complex method of knowledge, which consists in the study of a real object by creating an effective copy of it, which is called a model.It is important to remember that the model replaces the original only by the parameters that are necessary for knowledge. Thus, all other extra properties are simply excluded, as they are not relevant at a certain stage. Thanks to this sorting of the characteristics of the model, it turns out to be convenient for research.

general scientific methods of knowledge philosophy

The general scientific method of scientific knowledge - modeling - consists of several stages:

  1. Build a model. At this stage, the main goal is to create a full-fledged and effective replacement that will reproduce the necessary parameters. It uses idealization, abstraction, simplification, etc.
  2. Study. At this stage, obtaining the necessary information. The study is conducted at very deep levels, taking into account all the smallest details. All this is necessary so that with the help of the model it was possible to solve a specific problem. The researcher can additionally use such general scientific methods of scientific knowledge as description, observation, etc.
  3. Transferring the results to the original itself. This means that the researcher draws conclusions from the modeling data and makes a decision about the outcome of the study.If inconsistencies are found, the model is corrected and new research is conducted. Physical and mathematical models are simpler, since it is much easier to calculate the adequacy and inconsistencies in them.

At the same time, the complex of general scientific methods of theoretical and empirical knowledge allows you to create different models. They can be material, that is, physical or social. Also, models can be perfect, that is, mathematical. Due to the development of the theoretical level, physical modeling is becoming less and less popular. Note that mathematical modeling can be analog, abstract and imitative.

Abstract modeling is based on the possibility of describing a certain phenomenon or object using the language of scientific theory. Initially, a very clear and detailed description is given, followed by the same exact mathematical model. Thus, a mathematical-logical complex is obtained. Analog modeling is an isomorphism of objects, that is, in their similarity. Due to this, similar objects with different physical bases are investigated.Simulation is to simulate using a computer certain properties or characteristics of the model.


An important method of knowledge is generalization. It directly concerns all other methods. A generalization is concluded in the selection of some common properties, patterns and relationships in a certain area. In this case, all this happens by moving to a higher level of definition and abstraction. Generalization includes all of the above methods, but it leaves its own imprint and makes its own contribution to knowledge. Some researchers believe that this method can rightly be considered a subtype of abstraction.

philosophical and general scientific methods of knowledge

However, in reality this is not so, because the generalization is much more global and comprehensive. In this case, the cognitive task of these two methods also differs. The goal of generalization is in the transition from a frequent or individual concept to a general conclusion. At the same time, a new concept appears, and not just the result of inference.


An important general scientific method of theoretical knowledge is idealization. This method is considered a subspecies abstraction.At the same time, the processes are extremely close to ideal. To do this, they have a minimum number of special properties that are necessary to solve a specific problem. Ideal objects do not exist, but there are their prototypes in the real world. That is why you can create an ideal design that will allow you to conduct a thought experiment. This method is characterized by two theoretical features, namely:

  1. Introduction to the created object of such features and properties that the real object can not exist.
  2. Distraction from the real characteristics of the phenomenon or object.

For example, we note that Galileo understood the complexity of the natural process, and knew that for his research it was necessary to create a model.

Thought experiment

We considered almost all general scientific methods of knowledge. Philosophy is most used in such a way as a thought experiment. It consists in the theoretical study of an object in the totality of its properties and interactions. In a mental experiment, it is possible to establish conditions that cannot be established in the course of practical experience.This allows you to identify new patterns. In this way the methods of Galileo and Einstein were discovered. Scientists had enough to imagine something in his head to understand the possible consequences and causes. Modern science without mental experiments is impossible to imagine at all.


This is a research method that consists in studying the content of an object using patterns and relationships. During this method, any area of ​​knowledge, whether it is evidence, reasoning, or the search for facts, is presented as a kind of formal system. Thanks to this, one can abstract from form and content in order to see a new subject area. In this case, you can study the structural patterns, while distracting from the quality indicators. The finished model can be transformed and changed, getting different content. Moreover, each time you can add new content to the object. The basis for formalization is abstraction, which is carried out thanks to mathematics. For this, a special mathematization method is used.

general scientific methods of empirical knowledge

Areas such as linguistics or logic also have the characteristic features of formalization.How is it shown? In the use of the characteristic artificial language, which is very often called calculus. This is a certain system of studying certain areas of knowledge, which is established between specific areas of theoretical research. In mathematical logic, this may be the calculus of classes, predicates, statements, etc.


This is the method of deductive construction of conclusions or theories in any section of knowledge. At the same time, on the basis of the choice of initial characteristics, which are called axioms, one can logically derive various tenets of theory or knowledge. The axioms include only basic or initial concepts that are accepted as truth without any kind of evidence. All other features already require specific arguments. For example, the Euclidean geometry. All the sciences built on the basis of axiomatization are deductive.

Hypothetical-deductive method

This method of general scientific knowledge consists in putting forward certain abstract and theoretical assumptions, that is, hypotheses. Used to explain the causes and relationships in the observed processes or phenomena. Such conclusions can be further easily and conveniently disclosed by deduction.That is, the hypothesis develops from the initial assumption, which over time is verified empirically, and then refined (detailed) and analyzed by the researcher.

Private science methods are a whole set of methods used for analysis and research in a particular science and taking into account its characteristic features. This could include research in biology, physics, chemistry, mechanics, etc.

Summing up the article, I would like to note that absolutely all of the above methods are actively used by scientists and researchers at different levels. At the same time, it should be understood that absolutely all methods of scientific knowledge are very wide and relevant. Each of them is used most in a particular area. However, sometimes scientists use whole complexes of various methods in order to obtain very accurate and complex information.

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