Tag Archives: Substantive

Blog of the Week: 2 November 2018 – What are disciplinary and substantive knowledge?

...to the real.

I’ll stray into areas where I know what I know is limited… but I’ve found what follows to be a very useful model, even if it’s not quite right.  Where I have it ‘not quite right,’ hopefully someone can fill in the blanks for me.

Substantive Knowledge

Knowledge accrued by the discipline.

e.g. History: knowledge of the past.  Science: Newton’s three laws of motion.  Mathematics: Pythagoras’ theorem.

Disciplinary Knowledge

How the academic discipline accrues said knowledge.

e.g. Source analysis.  Empirical experimentation.  Conjecture and proof.

I feel like there’s more to disciplinary knowledge that I’m not fully getting… Michael Fordham suggested that there is a ‘know-that’ component to disciplinary knowledge, as well as a ‘know-how.’  I wonder whether concepts such as ‘measurement error’ and ‘inductive reasoning’ would be ‘know-that’ disciplinary knowledge for science.  They’re certainly not knowledge accrued by science, while they are necessary as a part of its processes for accruing…

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