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Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts

Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts (1st edn)

Jean-Frédéric Morin, Christian Olsson, and Ece Özlem Atikcan
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date: 02 December 2021

Falsification

How does it Relate to Reproducibility?locked

Falsification

How does it Relate to Reproducibility?locked

  • Brian D. Earp

Abstract

This chapter evaluates falsification. Contemporary philosophers of science tend to look down on falsifiability as overly simplistic. Nevertheless, among many practising scientists, the notion is still regarded as a useful — if imperfect — heuristic for judging the strength of a hypothesis in terms of its ability to generate new insights when combined with careful observation. Falsification also relates to self-correction in science. Often, erroneous findings make their way into the literature. If subsequent researchers conduct the same experiment as the original and yet it fails to yield the same finding, they are often described as having ‘falsified’ (that is, shown to be incorrect) the original result. In this way, mistakes, false alarms, and other non-reproducible output is thought to be identifiable and thus able to be corrected. For self-correction in science through falsification, what is needed are ‘direct’ replications. The chapter then considers the importance of auxiliary assumptions.

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