Better methods can’t make up for mediocre theory

Un article intéressant de Paul Smaldino dans Nature (Novembre 2019).

The thing is, we don’t just want science to be reproducible. We want it to help us to make better sense of the world.

For that, we must create better hypotheses — and those require better models and better measurements.

A theoretical model of mine (P. E. Smaldino and R. McElreath Soc. Open Sci.3, 160384; 2016) made headlines when it showed that bad science — or rather, less rigorous science that could produce more papers in less time — could crowd out the more robust sort. This suggested that generating better hypotheses is at least as important as reducing methodological errors for minimizing false discoveries.

Who cares if you can replicate an experiment that found that people think the room is hotter after reading a story about nice people? Will this help us to develop better theories? You can craft a fun story about that result, but can you devise the next great scientific question?

To generate good hypotheses, we need good theory.

la suite ici:

Nature 575, 9 (2019)doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03350-5

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