On unfinding

If a result fails to replicate, then it is not a finding but rather an unlucky aberration. This post isn’t about replication failure (or replication-failure failure). It’s about something I call
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If a result fails to replicate, then it is not a finding but rather an unlucky aberration. This post isn’t about replication failure (or replication-failure failure). It’s about something I call “unfinding.”The following combination is not an uncommon occurrence:(1) a result (“R”) replicates and is a finding, but(2) different stimuli or procedures produce a different result (“R*”).In many cases, the combination of (1) and (2) provides evidence for a more detailed or precise interpretation of R. Of course, in any particular case, people might reasonably disagree about whether the added detail constitutes a significant advance in our understanding of the underlying issues. Still, I think that there should be a presumption in favor of welcoming and encouraging work aiming to add detail.Unfinding goes beyond merely reinterpreting R. Instead, unfinding occurs when (1) and (2) support a more radical conclusion, namely:(3) R is uninformative (relative to the primary research. . .

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News source: Experimental Philosophy

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