Friday, February 27, 2009

Judgment: hunches and suspicions

One of the qualities of being a professional is your judgment. Sometimes facts are precisely black and white, but frequently we have little choice but to deal with shades of gray. That is where our judgment comes into play. I try very hard to be very clear about whether I know something is a demonstrable fact or not. Sometimes I simply do not have facts sufficient to prove that a claim is definitively true or false, but I do have enough sense and experience to judge whether a claim is more likely to be true or more likely to be false. The question is how to indicate that I am making such a judgment call. In the past, I have commonly said that I "suspect" that a claim is true or false, but now I am wondering if "suspicion" has the right tone for professional judgment. Maybe the word "hunch" conveys essentially the same meaning, but with more of a professional tone. I suspect that to be the case. Oops! Make that I have a hunch that is the case. The dictionary definition of suspicion suggests doubt and "suspecting something wrong", with an implication of negativity, while hunch means "a strong intuitive meaning." The last thing I want to do to encourage people to read my writing is to come across with a negative tone.

So, I have a hunch that I should go with hunch.

We'll see how that sounds.

-- Jack Krupansky


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