The Philosophical Foundations of Prescriptive Statements and Statistical Inference


Journal Article (Review)

From the perspectives of the philosophy of science and statistical inference, we discuss the challenges of making prescriptive statements in quantitative research articles. We first consider the prescriptive nature of educational research and argue that prescriptive statements are a necessity in educational research. The logic of deduction, abduction, and induction in philosophy of science are briefly reviewed, and the logic of prescriptive statement is specifically considered. The inductive nature of statistical inference is examined for both classical frequentist statistics and Bayesian statistics. To conclude our discussion, we recommend conducting replications and building "research programs" in educational research. We also make recommendations on what to write in the discussion section and what evidence is required to make an appropriate prescriptive statement. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sun, S; Pan, W

Published Date

  • June 1, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 207 - 220

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-336X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1040-726X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10648-011-9157-8

Citation Source

  • Scopus