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Instead, they are intended to affirm the

validity of the existing paradigm.2 As these

explorations become more refined, new

phenomena or anomalies may begin being

observed. When this occurs, scientists

attempt to provide an answer that is

consistent with the existing paradigm. The

steps described above are all encompassed by

what Kuhn calls ‘normal science’, and the

majority of scientists practice this for most of

their lives.3 Normal science is critical to

furthering our understanding and paves the

way for revolutions to occur. When a new

anomaly is discovered and resists initial

Figure 1 - Kuhnian Model of Scientific Revolution

attempts of explanation, novel explanative

ideas surface that do not fit within the existing

The colors in this figure represent the overall ‘health’ of a theory, with red representing crisis mode. The size of the steps relates to the strength of support that a theory has within the scientific community. Note that the existing paradigm is not rejected until the novel theory is a viable alternative.

paradigm. Scientists must look beyond the

construct of the existing paradigm because of the failure of the paradigm to explain the

anomaly.4 The budding of an alternative paradigm occurs when one of these novel ideas is

formulated to the point where it offers an inceptive explanation for the anomaly. The majority of

professionals work to modify the existing paradigm to account for the anomaly, often spawning

2

Kuhn, pgs. 24, 35

3

Kuhn, pg. 34

4

Kuhn, pg. 68, 74-75

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