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Discovery (observation)

A personification of discovery as represented by a statue in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.

Discovery is the act of detecting something new. With reference to science and academic disciplines, discovery is the observation of new phenomena, new actions, or new events and providing new reasoning to explain the knowledge gathered through such observations with previously acquired knowledge from abstract thought and everyday experiences.

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[edit] Description

New discoveries are acquired through various senses and are usually assimilated, merging with pre-existing knowledge and actions. Questioning is a major form of human thought and interpersonal communication, and plays a key role in discovery. Discoveries are often made due to questions. With reference to science and academic disciplines, discovery is the observation of new phenomena, new actions, or new events and providing new reasoning to explain the knowledge gathered through such observations with previously acquired knowledge from abstract thought and everyday experiences. In scientific research, exploration is one of three purposes of research (the other two being description and explanation). Discovery is made by providing observational evidence and attempts to develop an initial, rough understanding of some phenomenon. Some discoveries lead to the invention of objects, processes, or techniques. A discovery may sometimes be based on earlier discoveries, collaborations or ideas, and the process of discovery requires at least the awareness that an existing concept or method can be modified or transformed. However, some discoveries also represent a radical breakthrough in knowledge.

[edit] Exploration

Discovery can also be used to describe the first incursions of peoples from one culture into the geographical and cultural environment of others. Western culture has used the term "discovery" in their histories to subtly emphasize the importance of "exploration" in the history of the world, such as in the "Age of Exploration". Since the European exploration of the world, the "discovery" of every continent, island, and geographical feature, for the European traveler, led to the notion that the native people were "discovered" (though many were there centuries or even millennia before). In that way, the term has Eurocentric and ethnocentric meaning often overlooked by westerners.

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