Although the pertinence of implicit assumptions is underlined in theory-based evaluations, the nature of these assumptions has rarely been discussed. To understand the nature of underlying assumptions, it is necessary to review the notion of assumptions in general and their remarkable role in the generation of knowledge. This chapter discusses the nature of assumptions and groups them into ten categories according to Brookfield (Becoming a critically reflective teacher. Jossey Bass, San Francisco, CA, 1995) and according to the degree of articulation.
- Definition of assumptions
- Types of assumptions
- Paradigmatic assumptions
- Prescriptive assumptions
- Causal assumptions
- Degree of articulation
- Explicit assumptions
- Implicit assumptions
Even the most well-intentioned person unwittingly allows unconscious thoughts and feelings to influence apparently objective decisions.
– Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (2012)
Every human society rests on assumptions that, most of the time, are not only unchallenged but not even reflected upon. In other words, in every society there are patterns of thought that most people accept without question as being of the very nature of things.
– Trachman and Bluestone (2005)
To deny a proposition is not the same as to confirm its denial … Given a proposition P, there is an associated proposition not-P. Either of these … may be merely supported or assumed. But when we deny P, we are not concerned with mere assumption, and there is nothing to be done with P that is logically equivalent to assuming not-P … the state of mind in which we reject a proposition is not the same as that in which we accept its negation.
– Russell (1904)
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Nkwake, A.M. (2020). What Are Assumptions?. In: Working with Assumptions in International Development Program Evaluation. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33004-0_6
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Print ISBN: 978-3-030-33003-3
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-33004-0