Researcher Neil Lewis Jr. discusses how the Social Science Research Council’s Mercury Project‘s team’s approach to research can improve the evidence generation process.

Where do we go from here? And how do we get there? Those are questions I have been asking myself over the past few years as I’ve reflected on the various crises that have been plaguing the social sciences. I began my graduate training two years after the now famous “false-positive psychology” paper triggered a crisis of confidence about the state of evidence in psychology and the other social sciences (e.g., experimental economics) that engaged in similar meta-scientific reflections. Then came 2020. After a few years spent working through strategies to address that crisis of evidence, the Covid-19 global pandemic and the temporary reckoning about racial and social justice reignited the crisis of relevance. In addition to debates about how to improve (quantitative) methods, social scientists also debated about whether the kinds of knowledge our fields were producing were actually useful for speaking to pressing issues in society.

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