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How to Think Like a Scientist

Focus on data and methods

Ignore the author’s conclusions.

When you are doing cross-disciplinary research what really matters is the structure of the full body of evidence rather than any authors’ particular interpretation of their data in one paper, which is often biased. 

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How to Think Like a Scientist

How to Think Like a Scientist

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-the-next-einstein/201307/how-think-scientist

psychologytoday.com

5

Key Ideas

Pursue what appears to be a paradox

It will force you to reexamine the full body of evidence with new eyes.

Seeking relevant knowledge in unfamiliar disciplines increases the odds of serendipitous insights and allows novel empirical patterns to emerge.

Spot contradictions and novel patterns

Go on cross-disciplinary research expeditions.

By reading and translating the literature in fields outside your own, the full body of evidence surrounding a problem become apparent. 

Focus on data and methods

Ignore the author’s conclusions.

When you are doing cross-disciplinary research what really matters is the structure of the full body of evidence rather than any authors’ particular interpretation of their data in one paper, which is often biased. 

Don’t rely on fancy statistics

They can obscure the structure of evidence.

Remain skeptical of all statistical and mathematical modeling procedures that pre-process evidence while leaving little trace of its original structure.  

Start out close to the data by scrutinizing frequency distributions, means, standard deviations, how variables are actually measured, degree of measurement error, zero-order correlations, and sample composition.

There is no single formula

Be open to have your basic presumptions shattered.

Strategies for solving scientific mysteries:  

  • pin down why perspectives on them differ and what each has to offer
  • try to locate the essential core of available evidence
  • not put much stock in any single study or piece of evidence
  • watch for recurring patterns in the most reliable data
  • think through likely counterarguments
  • and look hard for holes in my evidence and logic.  

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