30 March 2011

On making assumptions explicit

From Tyler Cowen's blog:

This is from a child and adolescent mental health group at University College London, but it could and should also count as “Ethos of the Blogger”:
•All research is provisional
•All research raises as many questions as it answers
•All research is difficult to interpret and to draw clear conclusions from
•Qualitative research may be vital to elaborate experience, suggest narratives for understanding phenomena and generate hypotheses but it can’t be taken to prove anything
•Quantitative research may be able to show hard findings but can rarely (never?) give clear answers to complex questions
And yet, despite all the challenges, it is still worth attempting to encourage an evidence-based approach, since the alternative is to continue to develop practice based only on assumption and belief.
For the pointer I thank Michelle Dawson.
And I'll point all my dissertation students to it.

Pity there's no original source cited; if anyone knows it, I'll be pleased to attribute.

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