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Observation & Inference Presentation


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  • 1. Observation & Inference In Understanding History The “What” compared to the “Why”
  • 2. What is Observation?
    • Observation is the act of looking at a particular object, text, or individual and making an assumption.
    • We make observations using our 5 senses:
      • Sight
      • Smell
      • Sound
      • Taste
      • Touch
    • Observations can be qualitative or quantitative
  • 3. Qualitative Observation
    • These are a description of what we see
    • Qualit ative=Quality (or how something appears)
    • Example: The bowl is red
    • Example: It feels like a newspaper
  • 4. Quantitative Observation
    • These are the number of items we observe
    • Quantit ative=Quantity (number)
    • Example: The red bowl has three yellow stripes around it.
    • Example: The paper item has six columns on the front.
  • 5. Inferences?
    • An inference explains your observation
    • An inference is based on prior or background knowledge
    • “ Observations are information we gather directly through our five senses…inferences help explain those observations!”
  • 6. Examples of Inference…
    • Observation: The floor in the doorway of class is wet.
    • Possible Inferences:
      • There is a leak from the ceiling
      • Someone spilled water
      • The janitor is preparing to scrub the floor
    • These are all possible explanations as to why the floor is wet. We know that ceilings sometimes leak, people spill water, and water and soap are used to scrub floors
  • 7. A Couple Historical Examples
    • What can we observe?
    • It is a gun:
      • Barrel
      • Trigger
      • Hammer
    • It looks old:
      • Made of wood
      • No place for bullets to load
      • Has some kind of rock on the hammer
  • 8. A Couple Historical Examples…Cont’d.
    • What can we infer?
      • Most modern pistols are not made of wood
      • Most modern pistols have a clear location for loading bullets
      • Modern pistols DON’T have a rock on the hammer
    • We can then use inference to tell us that this is definitely an old weapon that uses a rock and metal in its operation
  • 9. A Couple of Historical Examples…Cont’d.
    • Now, using text, what can we observe?
      • Looks like music
      • Has two dates (1763-1816)
      • Talks about dying and eternity
  • 10. A Couple of Historical Examples…Cont’d.
    • What can we infer?
      • Belongs to an old tradition
      • Is meant to be sung
      • Used as part of a religious exercise or ceremony