Why establish concept to concept relationships?
If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.
Let’s apply what we have learned about concept content, conditional adjectives and transitive verbs. In 2001 J. Scott Armstrong wrote an excellent forty-nine page whitepaper entitled Standards and Practices for Forecasting. The Abstract for his paper says it best. The subject is weather forecasting.
One hundred and thirty-nine principles are used to summarize knowledge about forecasting. They cover formulating a problem, obtaining information about it, selecting and applying methods, evaluating methods, and using forecasts. Each principle is described along with its purpose, the conditions under which it is relevant, and the strength and sources of evidence. A checklist of principles is provided to assist in auditing the forecasting process. An audit can help one find ways to improve the forecasting process and to avoid legal liability for poor forecasting.
Armstrong asks the question, why do you need 139 principles? His reply, “You will not need all of them in any one situation. Nearly all of the principles are conditional on the characteristics of the situation. It would be misleading to write a book on “The Five Principles Used by Successful Forecasters. They could never be appropriate for all the different situations that can arise.” The title of Armstrong’s paper includes the two concepts; standards and practices. He then digresses by labeling the standards and practices, “principles”. For example, lets’ take a look at one of his “principles”.
“When prior RESEARCH shows that an AREA is unlikely to BENEFIT, avoid formal FORECASTS.”
Although this “principle” utilizes four concepts (Research, Area, Benefit and Forecasts) and two transitive verbs (Shows and Avoid) it also contains two conditional adjectives (Unlikely, and Formal). The adjective ‘prior’ is directly linked to the concept ‘research’. If we apply what we have learned so far we can conclude that this “principle” is a PRACTICE. If we remove the conditional adjectives we get: When prior research shows that an area will not benefit, avoid forecasts. We now have a non-connotative principle.
As you may recall from chapter three regarding concepts. A principles connotation is analogous to a noun’s connotation. A noun’s connotation is its implied meaning, such as the emotions or images the word evokes. Connotations may be (1) private and personal, the result of individual experiences (2) group (national, linguistic, racial) or (3) general or universal, held by all or most men. The scientist and philosopher attempt to hold words to their denotative meaning; the literary artist or management guru rely on connotations to carry their deepest meanings.
Connotative principles include one or more conditional adjectives that introduce bias that may come from within-industry or within-domain sources. The bias is often the result of professional association philosophical practices. Connotative principles are practices. Armstrong believed that all of his principles were conditional on the characteristics of the situation. Would this not make them practices?
More good examples in my next post…