A paradigm is the consensus of the scientific community, "solutions to concrete problems that the profession has come to accept" (Hoyningen-Huene, 1993, p.134).

Thomas Kuhn coined the term paradigm. He outlined it in terms of the scientific process. Kuhn felt that "one sense of paradigm is global, embracing all the shared commitments of a scientific group; the other sense isolates a particularly important sort of commitment and is thus a subset of the first"(Hoyningen-Huene, 1993, p.134). The concept of paradigm has two general levels. The first is the all-encompassing whole, the summation of the parts. It consists of the theories, laws, rules, models, concepts, and definitions that go into a generally accepted fundamental theory of science. Such a paradigm is "global" in character. On another level, a paradigm can also be any one of these laws, theories, or models that combine to formulate a global paradigm. These have the property of being "local." For example, Galileo's theory that the earth rotated around the sun became a paradigm in itself, a generally accepted law in astronomy. Yet, on the other hand, his theory combined with other "local" paradigms in areas such as religion and politics to transform culture.