This book shows how science works, fails to work, or pretends to work, by looking at examples from such diverse fields as physics, biomedicine, psychology, and economics. Social science affects our lives every day through the predictions of experts and the rules and regulations they devise. Sciences like economics, sociology and health are subject to more `operating limitations' than classical fields like physics or chemistry or biology. Yet, their methods and results must also be judged according to the same scientific standards. Every literate citizen should understand these standards and be able to tell the difference between good science and bad. Scientific Method enables readers to develop a critical, informed view of scientific practice by discussing concrete examples of how real scientists have approached the problems of their fields. It is ideal for students and professionals trying to make sense of the role of science in society, and of the meaning, value, and limitations of scientific methodology in the social sciences.
John Staddon is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Biology and Neurobiology, Emeritus at Duke University. He does research on adaptive behavior, economics, and the history and philosophy of science.
1. Basic Science 2. Experiment 3. Null Hypothesis Statistical Testing 4. Social Science: Psychology 5. Social Science: Economics 6. Behavioral Economics 7. `Efficient' Markets 8. Summing Up