Friday, January 22, 2016

The problem is in the design of experiments

Here's another well-written lay article, this time from The New Yorker, on irreproducible findings, the way science is being conducted, and our inherent biases as human beings.

Money quote:
That’s why Schooler argues that scientists need to become more rigorous about data collection before they publish. “We’re wasting too much time chasing after bad studies and underpowered experiments,” he says. The current “obsession” with replicability distracts from the real problem, which is faulty design. [....] “Every researcher should have to spell out, in advance, how many subjects they’re going to use, and what exactly they’re testing, and what constitutes a sufficient level of proof. We have the tools to be much more transparent about our experiments.”

Indeed, "We have the tools." We've chosen not to use them for the last couple of generations.The design of experiments is a concept that was invented decades ago to minimize the very problem we're grappling with today. We've simply not taught it well or learned to use it or chosen not to use it, perhaps because our great ideas couldn't possibly be wrong.

h/t Ken Liu

No comments:

Post a Comment