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Psychol Methods. 2005 Dec;10(4):371-88.

An abductive theory of scientific method.

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  • 1University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. brian.haig@canterbury.ac.nz

Abstract

A broad theory of scientific method is sketched that has particular relevance for the behavioral sciences. This theory of method assembles a complex of specific strategies and methods that are used in the detection of empirical phenomena and the subsequent construction of explanatory theories. A characterization of the nature of phenomena is given, and the process of their detection is briefly described in terms of a multistage model of data analysis. The construction of explanatory theories is shown to involve their generation through abductive, or explanatory, reasoning, their development through analogical modeling, and their fuller appraisal in terms of judgments of the best of competing explanations. The nature and limits of this theory of method are discussed in the light of relevant developments in scientific methodology.

PMID:
16392993
DOI:
10.1037/1082-989X.10.4.371
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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