Discovery Concept Notes


Like past areas of study, ‘discovery’ is a broad idea which is difficult to pin down. This not only makes it hard to pin down and talk about, but it also means students have to be prepared for a wide range of possibilities in their exams. This document is about unpacking discovery and looking at it conceptually from different angles so you can get comfortable and confident with it. What We Can Be Sure About One thing that seems common to every discovery is that it’s a moment, or combination of moments, which shifts a person’s, or people’s, perception about something. This is a good example of just how unhelpfully broad you need to get to say something uncontroversial and universally agreeable about discovery (and even then I’m not sure). But it does give us a good starting point and a small list of things we can interrogate further:

  • Just what do we mean by ‘moments’ and what can that include?

  • What kind of ‘shifts’ are acceptable? Is remembering something forgotten a ‘shift’, for example?

  • Why person or people? And does the discoverer affect the discovery?

  • Perception? Why not ‘knowledge’?

We’ll look at these one by one in detail. Click here to access the full resource.