Principle Examples – Part Two

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

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Moving on to another example, the next principle was gleaned from the stunning website of the Department of Geography at the University of Tennessee.  The site is presented by Dr. Henri D. Grissino-Mayer and is entitled The Ultimate Tree Ring Web Pages. If you select principles from the side bar on the left hand side of the home page you are taken to Principles of Dendrochronology. Following is the introductory paragraph.    (http://web.utk.edu/~grissino/principles.htm#4)

As with any science, dendrochronology is governed by a set of principles or “scientific rules.” These principles have their roots as far back as 1785 (the Principle of Uniformitarianism) and as recent as 1987 (the Principle of Aggregate Tree Growth). Some are specific to dendrochronology while others, like the Principle of Replication, are basic to many disciplines. All tree-ring research must adhere to these principles, or else the research could be flawed. However, before one can understand the principles, one needs to know basic definitions of terms used in tree-ring research.

Let’s proceed to the analysis of a couple of the principles presented on this web site.  The site stresses that all researchers must adhere to these principles, or else research could be flawed. The need for guiding principles is evident with universal application.

The Uniformitarian Principle

Physical and biological processes that link current environmental processes with current patterns of tree growth must have been in operation in the past.

Analysis:  The principle is concept dense with seven concepts. There is one transitive verb (have) with the modal verb (must). A modal verb indicates that something is compelled to do something because of a rule or law. There are no conditional adjectives associated with the transitive verb. The adjective “current” is directly linked to the concepts, ‘patterns and processes’. Our analysis supports the conclusion that this is indeed a principle. It clearly demonstrates the three effects; Concept Density, Conditional Adjective and Transitive Verb. Modal verbs help strengthen a principle.  We will call this:

The Modal Verb Effect

The Principle of Limiting Factors

Rates of plant processes are constrained by the primary environmental variable that is most limiting.

Analysis: The principle is concept dense with three concepts.  There is one transitive verb (rates) and no conditional or limiting adjectives. The word “rate” is also a concept so the principle actually contains four concepts.  All adjectives are directly linked to the associated concepts. No modal verbs. Conclusion: confirmed principle.

Next post: A summary of the Principle Effects

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Acknowledgements: Henri D. Grissino-Mayer

Principle Effects

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

_______________________________________________________________

With our attempt to answer some the questions proposed earlier, it is apparent that principles may have the same issues that plague concepts. They can be written clearly and have certain characteristics that make them rules to live by or they can be written in a connotative manner. We have identified the following effects that may have a positive or negative impact on a principle’s efficiency. Well written principles that meet Steven Coveys criteria of always pointing the way, not shifting or changing, applying at all times in all places and being objective and external would certainly have common characteristics. Characteristics, attributes or effects identified thus far can be used as a template for identifying, and writing principles.

The Concept Density Effect: This is a positive effect. Relevant concepts contained within the principle are the building blocks of a well written principle. One can almost understand the purpose of the principle by identifying the concepts in the principle as stated. The concepts should be related to the principles field of knowledge (Domain).

The Conditional or Limiting Adjective Effect: This is a negative effect. One or more conditional adjectives firmly consign the principle to the category of being connotative and fundamentally transform’s the principle into a practice.  The adjective attaches conditions under which the principle will apply.  This effect has the most impact on making the principle a “Non-Covey” principle.

The Transitive Verb Effect: This is a positive effect. The very nature of a transitive verb makes it a necessity for a principle. A principle must be active and that action must be directed at a subject, preferably a relevant concept.

The Modal Verb Effect:  This can be a either a positive or a negative effect.  The right modal verb can strengthen a principle or once again transform it into a practice. The most common modal verbs are; Can, Could, May, Might, Must, Ought to, Shall, Should, Will and Would. Only one modal verb is appropriate for a principle – Must. Any of the other modal verbs create a negative effect.

In addition to effects, all principles must have a purpose and must to be associated with the field of knowledge or domain of origin. (Is this a principle?)

Next post – Questions answered.

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