Truth or Truthiness

Paul A. Kirschner, Mirjam Neelen, Jun 27, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm going to surprise readers perhaps by saying I am in agreement with what these two author write here. They cite Stephen Gorard's proposal for judging the trustworthiness of research findings and make the point - correctly - that most work in the field of education fails to qualify. What they don't say - and this is equally important - is that the core disputes in education theory are not going to be solved by research of this sort. These principles are principles of experimental validity. But the research question, nature of the data, and definition of the outcome are all defined (hopefully clearly) ahead of the experiment. The experimental results do not confirm these assumptions - they only conform conclusions drawn within these assumptions (assuming they conform anything at all, which again, most experimentation in our field does not). 

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