A Knowledge Claim believed to be true by an investigator or research community may be referred to as Knowledge.

Knowledge may be defined broadly as

  • perception, awareness, understanding, and recall of information (e.g., facts, theories, stories, theories) and sense perception–i.e., what we perceive as humans from our five senses.

That said, when people say they want to make a contribution to human knowledge, they probably mean they hope to develop an original insight, theory, or application–i.e., something no one else has thus found or articulated.

Key Terms: Knowledge; Scholarly Conversation

How Do Knowledge Claims Become Knowledge?

Textual Research

Humanities researchers engaged in Textual Research tend to assess knowledge claims by engaging in Critical Literacy Practices. When hearing a knowledge Ccaim, they question its Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose. They are reflective about Information Literacy Perspectives & Practices.

However, textual research presumes a Knowledge Claim is never settled. Rather, scholarly conversations are perceived to be ongoing, never ending, a hermeneutical process.

Empirical Research

How investigators and communities assess whether a Knowledge Claim is accepted or rejected varies across Methodological Communities.

Investigators engaged in qualitative and quantitiatve resarch

That said,

  • Genres reflect disciplinary expectations regarding Knowledge Claims are invariably ideological. Knowledge is socially constructed.

Knowledge Claims are imbricated with

As humans, we –that it is authentic, replicable results from reasoning,

a research study

Propositional Knowledge

proposition about something (that such-and-such is true) evidence

kind of discourse Claim, a proposition.

Knowledge Claims are rhetorical. Different readers, different communities have different standards for assessing knowledge claims. Whether or not a reader, a discourse community, a community of practice, believes a claim is

authentic is dependent on several factors.

  • such-and-such is the case (Propositional Knowledge),
    • X causes Y
    • X effects Y

Knowledge Claims change over time.

an investigator makes about some evidence, some insight about a topic

Propositional Knowledge (Knowing that such-and-such is the case”

is to a contribution to original knowledge.

rhetor purports to

that something is true.

a genuine insight. Knowledge can be declarative–a

Claims are hypotheses, arguments.

In contrast, Knowledge Claim are research findings that a Community of Practice believes is a valid, acceptable, and significant.

When evaluating Knowledge Claims, communities will

For instance, a scientific community would question whether a new theory has greater greater explanatory power than the theories it is supplanting. They would question

  • an insight, a transcendent truth claim, that an individual or discourse community believes to be true,

Knowledge may be implicit, tacit: people may acquire new knowledge without even being aware they are learning. People may not be able to describe a process or explain a process and yet be successful at engaging in the process–i.e., they may have procedural knowledge.

how to do sometjhing even when they

And then there’s Explicit knowledge: the kind of descriptive, declarative, propositional knowledge we gain from school, debates with others, reading, and argument.

sometimes defined by purpose. For instance,

There are multiple kinds of knowledge, multiple knowing, including

Declarative Knowledge
  • Declarative Knowledge
    Declarative Knowledge involves knowing that something exists (definitional knowledge) or is true or false (propositional knowledge). Declarative Knowledge is explicit knowledge about facts, history, ideas, topics, principles, and concepts. Declarative Knowledge is the sort of knowledge you learn from school or encyclopedias. 
  • Procedural Knowledge
    Procedural/Tacit Knowledge pertains to knowing how to do something, even if you cannot exactly explain how you do it. 

Knowledge is difficult to measure, assess.

The state of having sufficient knowledge is subjective, contested term. People may believe they are knowledgeable while at the same time be woefully uniformed, as Jon Oliver so humorously observes below

The presence or absence of knowledge is frequently contested: People who may feel they lack sufficient knowledge about a topic may actually be more knowledgeable than others who believe they are knowledgeable.