How to Argue About Research You Don't Like: A Flowchart
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Science!
Robert T. Gonzalez explains:
Via WaPo's Wonkblog comes the definitive guide to critiquing research findings that rub you the wrong way. And while this chart refers more specifically to studies on things like health and budget policy, it works surprisingly well for scientific studies, as well.
Whether the research was conducted nationally or locally, for example, is not unlike asking whether the test subjects in a psych study were Western, educated, rich, industrialized, rich and democratic (aka WEIRD). The question of whether the research findings generally mesh with those of previous investigations? Science historians have written entire books on this.
Some things we'd add: Does the experiment have a small sample size? Has the lead scientist committed scientific fraud in the past? Is the investigation predicated upon widely cited, but totally bunk, science?