Why too many political science findings cannot be trusted and what we can do about it

For several months or years now I have been learning and thinking about the credibility of social scientific research. In the wake of this progress, I thoroughly revised my beliefs about the evidential value of published research findings. When I was conducting my master’s studies and was reading a scientific study published in a scientific journal by full-grown scientists, I believed and never questioned that was I was reading must be true. I knew that some studies were better than others and that scientists occasionally err. Still, when I heard that one of those full-grown scientists claimed that „most published research findings are false„, I was puzzled.

Years later I am being involved in organizing the MZES Open Social Science Conference 2019, which brings together scholars from around the globe to discuss research credibility and what we can do improve it. Now, I have penned a commentary that reviews the existing meta-scientific literature on the credibility of quantitative findings in political science. Rather than fatalistic, the commentary hopes to be analytic and constructive. At best, the paper will serve as a primer for those who are not yet versed in these discussions and it will contribute to the ongoing debates about research credibility.

The German Political Science Quarterly (Politische Vierteljahresschrift) will generously publish this commentary at the end of this year. The commentary is on SocArxiv in a very draft. Comments and feedback are very welcome!

Why too many political science findings cannot be trusted and what we can do about it: Assessing, explaining and improving the credibility of our discipline’s evidence base

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