Monday, July 12, 2010

Laws on research papers could extend to the entire world of 'experts'

Dan Drezner has seven great rules on approaching research papers with caution. I think they apply to the whole notion of experts, which I think we partly create so that we can engage frequently in the fallacy of appealing to authority. Here is the summary:

1) If you can't read the abstract, don't bother with the paper. {Cav-what Einstein said: You don't really understand something until you can explain it to your grandmother}

2) It's not the publication, it's the citation count. {Cav-that old saying: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery}

3) Yes, peer review is better.

4) Do you see a strawman? {Cav-one fallacy enables another}

5) Are the author's conclusions the only possible conclusions to draw? {Cav-I think the answer to this is almost always 'No'}

6) Can you falsify the author's argument? {Cav-Thank God for Karl Popper}

7) Fraudulent papers will still get through the cracks.

Via Abornmal Returns.

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