Two Minutes with Dr. Yahya: Research Fallacies
دقيقتان مع الدكتور يحيى: أخطاء البحوث العلمية
Philosophy of Arab Manifesto مشروع النهضة العربي
Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.ds-Former professor of Comparative sociology
Knowing fallacies in doing research is an important issue for researchers before determining empirically how individuals perform. Group averages my mislead good judgment. Further more, behavior is correlated with many variables different among individuals and groups. Therefore we cannot argue generalization of one case on the whole population. Fallacies can be related to sample selection, to stereotyping, to validity measures, and conclusions.
A fallacy is an error in reasoning, usually based on mistaken assumptions. Researchers are very familiar with all the ways they could go wrong, with the fallacies they are susceptible to. Time, space and ranks of people in the sample are possible important errors in doing research.Especially in generalization of results.
The generalization or the ecological fallacy occurs when researchers make conclusions about individuals based only on analyses of group data.
For example, assuming that all Americans are millionaires, according to a sample of Millionnaires creates an error to generalize the results by describing every American as Millionnaire.Becasue to assume that you measured the Millionnaires in a particular area, and found that they had the highest average wealth in the district, it does not mean that every American is a millionaire.
The other fallacy of generalization, the stereotyping (or exception) fallacy is sort of the reverse to the first one. It occurs when you reach a group conclusion on the basis of exceptional cases. This is the kind of fallacious reasoning that is at the core of a lot of sexism and racism in the form of stereotyping. An example on stereotype is when a person who sees or hears about an Arab Muslim makes an error of terror act, and concludes that “all Arabs and Muslims (anywhere) are bloody terrorists.” These are wrong! Fallacies! Far from true, but believed widely by simple, ignorant or may be racist people.
Researchers therefore, should be careful of these fallacies in doing research. Fallacies are traps exist in both research and everyday reasoning. They also show how important it is that we do research.
The whole controversy around the fallacy of Normal Curve usually leads to error, in terms of time, space and people sampling. Methods of learning should be wide and diverse enough to include the best learning methods in terms of students ability no matter how long it takes. Connecting race for example to IQ is unfair measure in this case. Because empirically determined results on how individuals perform. Using the Normal Curve in finding correlation between certain behaviors and certain groups is may be suitable in some cases, but any attempt to examine whether the supposed relationship between race (black, white, & Yellow etc.,) or ethnicity and IQ seems to be real but many argue that it is a fallacy. www.dryahyatv.com
@Hasan Yahya, Michigan, May 2012
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