There’s a huge debate going on in social science right now. The question is simple, and strikes near the heart of all research: What counts as solid evidence?
The answer matters because many disciplines are currently in the midst of a “replication crisis” where even textbook studies aren’t holding up against rigorous retesting. The list includes: ego depletion, the idea that willpower is a finite resource; the facial feedback hypothesis, which suggested if we activate muscles used in smiling, we become happier; and many, many more.
Scientists are now figuring out how to right the ship, to ensure scientific studies published today won’t be laughed at in a few years.
One of the thorniest issues on this question is statistical significance. It’s one of the most influential metrics to determine whether a result is published in a scientific journal.