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By Jung-Der Wang

...this booklet simplifies the layout and inferences of human observational reports into varieties: descriptive and causal

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Example text

6. Inductive reasoning guarantees that if the premise is true, then the statement that follows should be also true. 7. A scientist should try to verify his/her hypothesis and disprove other people's hypotheses. 8. The observation itself will automatically show one the hypothesis or even theories. 9. A good scientist should try to falsify his/her favorite hypothesis, because it may be easily overlooked without 38 Basic Principles and Practical Applications in Epidemiological Research scrutiny. 10.

In other words, how can we evaluate the credibility of a hypothesis after many empirical tests? These are the issues to be discussed in this chapter. 1 Hypothesis Formation — How to form a conjecture? Conjectures usually precede observations Traditional inductivists argue that hypothesis is generally formed after one's observation of facts or phenomena. However, most hypotheses are not formed in this manner because natural phenomena do not directly spell out the laws of nature. For example, everyone observes sunset and sunrise, yet it was Copernicus who proposed that the earth revolves around the sun rather than the sun revolving around the earth.

All the above examples have indicated that one should take a refutational attitude in scientific research to avoid the pitfall of jumping to false conclusions. Dr. John C Eccles, a Nobel laureate, once wrote an essay entitled "In praise of falsification," (1981) attributing his success in neurobiology to the falsificationist attitude of constantly testing and renewing his original hypothesis. 3 displays a summary of the comparison between verificational and falsificational attitudes in scientific research.

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