What is the scientific method?
According to Google these are the seven steps of the scientific method:
- Make an observation.
- Conduct research.
- Form hypothesis.
- Test hypothesis.
- Record data.
- Draw conclusion.
How is it used in the social sciences compared to the hard sciences?
The hard sciences like physics and chemistry follow the scientific method more closely, more traditionally, more quantitatively. The social sciences are usually looking for more nuance and focus on proceeding from a scholastic literature review of previous work in the field of choice. So they are starting with the “form hypotheses” or questions stage after a literature review, the third step in this process as described by Google on 11-29-17. Only then do they proceed with the more basic research approach with the first two steps of observation and conducting research. This is more of a qualitative approach than the more quantitatively oriented basic research approach of the hard sciences which follows in the same order of the Google approach. The basis for most social science work is the APA standard of the American Psychological Association. The social sciences have a bias and assumption that they reflect the complexity and diversity of the human species and human civilization, hence psychology sets the standard. As one sociology professor once told me, a correlation of 0.30 is significant, and perfect fits are inherently suspect. This is very different from the basic research approach of the hard sciences, where the last step, replication, is expected to be exact. Close is considered good enough for the social sciences where ambiguity of results is expected to resemble the diversity of the human experience.
How is it used in economics?
Nobel prize winner in 1973 economics sciences, laureate Wassily Leontief, has said that 97% of the economics literature consists of articles about other people’s articles, and 2.5% is for model building and 0.5% is basic research. So when Robert Reuschlein pursues modeling and basic research as his primary focus he is already outside of the mainstream. Economics History Society co-founder R. H. Tawney, rejecting the Marshallian economics of his day, asserted that “There is no such thing as a science of economics, nor ever will be.” This remains the common belief of the average economist today. See “The Nobel Factor” subtitled “The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy and the Market Turn” by Avner Offer and Gabriel Soderberg (2016), and reviewed by Jim Tomlinson (2016). These views are furthered by the department head’s views when I was admitted to the University of Oregon Economics Doctoral Program. His view was the starting with the data was cheating, that the reasonable hypothesis must come first. This makes sense if you are constructing econometric models of fifty some “three or four variable” equations, because the degrees of freedom with make the results meaningless. This doesn’t make sense for a three factor elegant scientific sixty year model such as created by Robert Reuschlein. Following the elegant basic truths of the hard science methodology is completely different from the traditional social science methodology, where 97% of the economic literature is perfectly happy to do.
Does peer review help or hinder scientific revolutions?
Peer Review can easily lead to the situation where new ideas can be considered inappropriate, as has often happened to a colleague of mine that has repeatedly offered new path breaking articles in emerging new fields. I find this in my own work on Peace I can leave the crowd so stunned they do not know where to begin with questions. This is very frustrating so I have turned to blogging in an effort to simplify the material enough to make partial progress. The wordy diversity junkies of the social sciences simply do not have the patience to follow the systematic building of a long string of engineering steps that lead to a physics like solid conclusion. Some have called me “dry” as I carefully seek to clarify simple important points. Others call me arrogant for the courage of my convictions based on provable math. If you do not have the understandings of business, you can easily accuse me of self promotion, but without promotion branding and marketing, new ideas go nowhere. If you think avoiding war or social movements are the only acceptable paths to peace, you fail to see how reducing military spending and better understanding the causes and time periods for war can lead to much happier lives and prosperity for whole populations. If you do not see the connection between military spending and murder rates or poor health outcomes, you are giving military spending too much credit, underestimating the domestic destruction of militarism.
Does it help or hinder interdisciplinary studies?
Peer review and differing interpretations of the scientific method can be great impediments to new thinking that can only be truly appreciated in an interdisciplinary way. Interdisciplinary thinking helps clarify basic concepts by looking at them from several angles. This is the same kind of triangulation that is used in astronomy to estimate how far away objects are. Differing religions can put barriers between people, but all religions have their version of the Golden Rule. Hence multiple religions can better triangulate basic principles of good. Some religions say pray always, while others encourage chanting singing and meditation to the same effect. History, politics, economics, sociology, and psychology should be unified in their thinking, not at war with each other in their separate silos and linguistics. Empire theory helps unify these different disciplines at a basic level. Having a common backbone can help the various social sciences relate to each other.
For More Information:
Please cite this work as follows:
Reuschlein, Robert. (2017, December 10), “Scientific Methods Variety” Madison, WI: Real Economy Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/Scientific-Methods-Variety,2017131789.aspx
Dr. Peace, Professor Robert Reuschlein, Real Economy Institute