A paradigm shift occurs when there is a fundamental change in the understanding of a field of study as conditions change or earlier assumptions are disproven. Historian and philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn introduced the term in his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In the book, Kuhn promotes the idea that theories have a social character and approaches them as social constructions that contain historical traces of the time and place in which they were generated.

All fields of inquiry have an underlying set of taken-for-granted assumptions and principles that govern issues such as how questions are asked, the selection of methods, the criteria for what is accepted as data, and the standards for evaluating the validity of knowledge claims. These foundational beliefs are ...

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