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PLos Article: Most published research wrong?!?

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Lesley, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. Gerwyn

    Gerwyn Guest

    Explanations may be given, it doesn't mean they are accurate - they need testing. What is meant by 'mind' in your discussion here? That's a crucial and problematic issue. Also - 'WHY' claims - always a problem. HOW I can live with- but WHY can easily become a just-so story (evolutionary psychology being a particular culprit here).

    The explanations are consistent with the observed data and thus far have not been disproved, The explanatoty model has been repeatedly evaluated by testing its predictive power.it has now reached the status of theory which in scientific terminology means the closest approximation of the truth based on the information currently available.That does not mean that the model will never be adjusted or even abandoned altogether.The cumulative weight of evidence makes it unlikely but never say never in this game. I am happy to use brain if that is clearer and you are right perhaps i should have


    Right. So if 100 people construct black people as sexually voracious and less intelligent than whites, because everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, it must be progress and fact? No, of course not, yet this sort of assumption is often what happens in much psychological and psychiatric claims. My problem is about how much (or not) is meaning consistent and invariate. 'Catatrophisation' is confused in the way its used. But -also, when it's claimed to CAUSE illness for example (and psychologists are involved in that problem), it's not just the unstable use of language that's the problem, it's the circular reasoning ("You're in worse pain BECAUSE you believe the pain is bad" etc.)

    The first problem here is the use of the word construct.it is not defined.

    If it was everyone would know what the term actually meant.

    The scientific method begins with observations.in this case sexually voracious would have to be defined.As would intelligence.Some consistent method of measuring intelligence would have to be developed that produced consistent reliable results.This would have to be tested and measured against a number of factors that could be objectively measured.intelligence its self would need to be defined with relation to the ability to perform a range of cognitive tasks such as non verbal pattern recognition.Then you would have to find some objective measurement of sexual voracity .then assess the probabliity of truth of the observations level of chance generalisability etc.Of course just defining terms and working from the same hymn sheet is not the total answer but research of this kind has no meaning whatsoever without doing so.Science constructs theories based on observations precisely made using terms precisely defined.Otherwise you end up with the rediculous claims you describe. If the meaning of the word pain was defined then the circularity you described could not ensue

    Of course, you can only tell if the scientific method is correct/incorrect if you know about scientific method and reasoning, for which you have to know a bit about logic!

    You cant tell if any other method is correctly or incorrectly applied however much logic you have,Another term with multiple meanings of course


    I'm beginning to think you are defining 'social construction' differently to me. I (like many sociologists) am using 'social construction' to explain the way people define others according to BELIEFS that are socially constructed.

    My problem with the social constuctionist approach in psychology is as follows




































































    repeated experimental evidence suppots the theory that social schema are used to form judgements about and guide behaviour in different social settings without concious awareness.Internalised cultural beliefs form at least part of the symbolic information contained in this schema and are used at least in part in the construction of social stereotypes.
    social constructionists observe people behaving differently in different situations and conclude that people must have different identities.They then treat this highly questionable and subjective interpretation as fact.
    in similar vein they see different degrees of emotionality in different cultures then emotions must be culturally constructed.

    I could go on but essentially the thought process is that if it appears to be then it must be.

    In essence it is a return to skinner--the cultural environment is the sole cause of behaviour they are silent on the how of course.

    According to them the focus of psychological investigation should be cultural entities of one kind or another They then call social constuctionism a meta theory that explains everything

    Of course scientific methodology is innapropiate

    Biologists sometimes linguistically construct female animal sexuality in terms of 'submission to the male', I think they would DESCRIBE the behaviour as appearing to be submissive.What readers interpret by that is a product of their cognitive apparatus

    systemSo, the female SEX is biological, but GENDER is how others construct women in a social.

    Female behaviour is a compex interplay of genetic and environmental factors(as is the behaviour of Males).This pattern of behaviour in itself produces a weighted average or stereotype contributing to cultural beliefs about gender issues.Gender itself is a subjectively constructed label with no objective relationship to the labelled phenomena under consideration

    Female animals might invite the male, but it was often written as 'submission'. But it was a social construction of female sexuality as 'submissive' that led to this unsafe linguistic construction.

    We dont know whether this is an objectively correct description or not.It is a description calling it a linguistic construct is an example of the sort of problem we are talking about we dont know whether this is an unsafe linguistic construction or not.It is totally open to interpretation.

    Personality traits' are often social construct
    s

    The label personality trait is a social construct what it labells is not(the contents of mental models predispose to certain attitudes behaviours and so on)

    'neuroticism' is a big one. People are made to answer a closed set of questions structured according to the personal agenda (theory) of the researcher. They might not want to answer in the way they've been instructed, the 'agree/disagree' may be too simplistic, yet because they've done it- 'reliability' is assumed, and

    This method is common to all diagnostic proceedures in medicine.It is possible, but very rare, that an individualy constructed questionaire is used to diagnose a condition .The validity of diagnostic criterea are rigerously validated and calibrated against objective measurements such as blood tests neural scans and so on.To an outside observer the validity of the test might seem to be assumed

    As regards the 'going around in circles' - I think it is because we disagree about the value of sociology in understanding science,

    It really means what you mean by understanding.This obviously once again has different meanings.The majority of sociologists lack the scientific knowledge to understand the specific scientific protocols used in different fields of science. I have yet to hear an objective analysis of this kind from a sociologist.The techniques used by many sociologists involve interpretations made on the basis of their preconceptions,cognitive biases and beliefs. These techniques make any kind of objective analysis impossible.

    If on the other hand the subjects of investigation concerned the, misuse of peer review, the effects of publishing bias on propagating popular or controversial theories,misuse of language, effects of sponsorship power issues then absolutely.these are the sorts of issues that sociology deals with exceedingly well.It certainly does not need any help from psychology

    I totally agree that work investigating the misuse of language in research is important- a lot of research evidence is nothing but a product of such misuse

    I am arguing for more objectivity and stricter adherence to the scientific method in all forms of research. Research that does not employ the scientific method should be labelled as unscientific or anecdotal
  2. Gerwyn

    Gerwyn Guest

    good morning

    Yes there is a growing trend for social constructionists to challenge scientific work to further their agenda.

    They produce critiqes based on nothing but predjudice supposition and belief.

    When their techniques are subject to forensic examination there tends to be a scalded cat reaction.

    They base their work soley on social consructs but then assume that their conclusions are in some way objective rather than subjective opinion.People using this approach are probably the least qualified to criticise science.

    This is far short of perfect by the way

    All i really ask is that researchers of whatever hue define their terms and declare their theoretical perspectives and prejudices

    By the way I dont include Angela in this camp.I believe that she is sincere in her beliefs.They just happen to be different to mine.

    A great many people within the Critical perspective clearly have an agenda and science provides facts which they find inconvenient.Wesselly uses very similar techniques
  3. Gerwyn

    Gerwyn Guest

    social constructionism is entirely based on highly problematic assumptions and methodological approaches.Social constructionism is in it in itself a social construct.Somehow social constructioinsts fail to grasp that.

    An example would be. to a third party peoples behaviour is so different in different situations that it is as if they have multiple identities.Somehow this "as if" is lost and the interpreation gains the status of objective truth

    They then take this "methodological approach and use it to form the basis of their critique of Science.If it appears to them that there is a problem it is held to be true rather than an artifact created by their investigative methodology

    People in phillosophical and methodological "glass houses" should not throw "stones" without expecting them thrown back.Unfortunately members of this perspective almost always cry foul when that happens

    The biggest issue science has at the moment is that work is being deliberately or accidentallymisrepresented misunderstood and misinterpreted.When deliberately so the motives are invariably financial gain and or political advantage in one way or anothe

    I dont think you have copped out in any way at all.Our positions on these matters are different.However, I too am finding the thread exhausting and I think it is time to call it quits.my comments dont apply to all sociologists by any means just to this particular breed
  4. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Thanks Angela. Just bought 'Critical thinking skills'.
  5. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Thanks CBS. I have just bought the former. I couldn't see a softback for sale from the UK so am getting it from booksamillion.com which is one of those on the igive.com list so WPI should get $5 as I bought within 45 days of signing up.

    I am nearly finished another book that was recommended on Amazon, "The Cartoon Guide to Statistics" by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith which I have found a fairly easy read. But then I did study the topic before (but had gaps because transferred and it was nearly 20 years ago). I think I might get some of the other Cartoon guides e.g. to genetics.
  6. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Boy do I completely sympathize with you Tom. I have so many projects and things I want to study and I just can't. ME won't let me.
  7. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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  8. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Thanks for the detailed reply, CBS.
    Oops, got carried away on a book-buying spree before reading the rest of the messages.

    Thanks again for the advice.
  9. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Those sound like interesting books, Angela. Might add them to my wish list (End of extract in case anyone missed them).

    This may explain something a friend told me who studied Sociology (and Maths) where he was "told off"/similar for quoting psychological research. And reminds/informs me that there could be quite a few critics of psychology (and psychiatry?) within the ranks of sociologists.
  10. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Thanks for those, Hope123. I've put them aside but again I've bought quite a few books recently so won't go out and get them just yet.

    I see there is both:
    "Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, Second Edition" and a shorter:
    "Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: Essentials of Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, Second Edition"
    I presume you are talking about either the first one or both of them or did you just mean the second one.
    The first one is quite long (860 pages) so if you were just talking about the second one, it'd be interesting.

    I haven't been reading factual books (not on ME/CFS) since the early 90s. It's certainly a lot more fun/pleasurable when one doesn't face an exam in them.
  11. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Interesting observation
  12. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    (Off-topic)
    Given the very large women's studies:men's studies ratio in the social sciences, it seems one could suggest that the opposite may be needed now.
  13. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    That's an interesting point.
  14. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Open-Access Peer Review

    I'm not sure if people are aware but with the journals at: http://www.biomedcentral.com one can generally see the pre-publication history.

    This includes earlier drafts of the paper, (non-anonymous) reviewers' submissions, editors' comments and responses from authors. It can be very interesting and revealing!!
  15. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone

    Thanks to Angela Kennedy, CBS, Gerwyn, Hope123, Maarten Maartensz and anybody else I've forgotten for an interesting discussion and interesting advice about books.

    I hope some of you will use your intellect, knowledge, reasoning and analytical skills, (and indeed life experience), etc for the ME/CFS cause and in particular, it'd be great if some work was put into the public domain e.g. e-letters or even more formal letters to journals questioning some published papers, and who knows, maybe a book or a full paper!?
  16. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    I agree Tom. That's something a group like this should do here.

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