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date: 15 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a philosophical examination of a number of different quantitative research methods that are prominent in the behavioral sciences. It begins by outlining a scientific realist methodology that can help illuminate the conceptual foundations of behavioral research methods. The methods selected for critical examination are exploratory data analysis, statistical significance testing, Bayesian confirmation theory, meta-analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and causal modeling. Typically, these methods contribute to either the detection of empirical phenomena or the construction of explanatory theory. The chapter concludes with a brief consideration of directions that might be taken in future philosophical work on quantitative methods.

Keywords: scientific realism, methodology, exploratory data analysis, statistical significance testing, Bayesianism, meta-analysis, exploratory factor analysis, causal modeling, latent variables, phenomena detection, hypothetico-deductive method

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