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Producing a Robust Body of Data with a Single Technique

Gandenberger, Gregory (2009) Producing a Robust Body of Data with a Single Technique. [Preprint]

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Many techniques used in science produce raw data that requires interpretation. In many cases, it is impossible to discover or test by direct observation a method of interpreting raw data. It is natural to assume that in such cases the justification for a method of interpretation must come from a theory about the process that produces the raw data. Contrary to this view, scientists have many strategies for validating a method of raw-data interpretation. Those strategies can be used to produce multiple arguments in support of a single technique that may depend on largely independent sets of presuppositions. Thus, it is possible to produce a robust body of data with a single technique. I illustrate and support these claims with a case study of the introduction of the cathode-ray oscillograph into electrophysiology.

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Item Type: Preprint
Gandenberger, Gregory
Keywords: Experiment, measurement, robustness, raw data, oscillograph, electrophysiology, Joseph Erlanger, Herbert Gasser, observation, theory-dependence, process tracing, direct causal inference
Subjects: General Issues > Theory/Observation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Gregory Gandenberger
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2009
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:18
Item ID: 5003

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