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The Misconceptions of Research

Category : Research
Date : May 31, 2016

A misconception or fallacy in research is an error in reasoning or judgment occurred due to mistaken or false assumptions by researcher. Every researcher must be aware of the research fallacies that might adversely affect his hypothesis, results or outcomes of research. For this, we are here describing the two most common research fallacies that are likely to occur in any research:

Ecological Inference Fallacy:  It is a logical misconception which occurs at the stage of interpretation of statistical data. The misconceptions occur because the inference about the nature of individuals are derived from the generalized inference that is made about the group to which the individual belongs. Conclusions about individuals are made on the basis of the analysis of group data. For instance, if it is calculated that the general population has a low IQ, then it is a misconception that any person randomly selected in the group is going to have a lower IQ than the average IQ of the population.

Exception Fallacy: This misconception is opposite to the previous misconception of Ecological Inference Fallacy. When a researcher reaches to a particular conclusion about the group on the basis of one exceptional case, it is called as Exception Fallacy. It can be best understood by taking the general misconception associated with women drivers as an example. Seeing a woman driving the car wrong or not following traffic rules makes people perceive that generally all women are bad drivers. This is Exception Fallacy.

These misconceptions and presumptions highlight the importance of careful research in everyday life and contemporary situation. If the researcher makes any intentional or accidental error in judgment without being cautious of these fallacies, all the inferences around us would be determined on the basis of both these fallacies. The society needs to find out the way individuals behave (not on the grounds of group averages), and at the same time, it is also important to know if there is some correlation between certain behavior by some groups. This can be understood and proved only by empirical research. It would statistically bring out the individual performance in isolation to the group performance. If researchers are careful that all their findings and interpretations are derived from statistical interpretations and scientific reasons and not generalized perceptions or biases only then the researcher will be doing a justified research in true terms.

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