Empirical research and quantitative methods1 August, 2012 at 09:31 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics, Theory of Science & Methodology | 5 Comments
David A. Freedman‘s Statistical Models and Causal Inference (2010) and Statistical Models: Theory and Practice (2009) are marvellous books. They should be mandatory reading for every serious social scientist – including economists and econometricians – who don’t want to succumb to ad hoc assumptions and unsupported statistical conclusions!
In the social and behavioral sciences, far-reaching claims are often made for the superiority of advanced quantitative methods – by those who manage to ignore the far-reaching assumptions behind the models.
Some kinds of problems may yield to sophisticated statistical technique; others will not. The goal of empirical research is – or should be – to increase our understanding of the phenomena, rather than displaying our mastery of technique.