Power of a method

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In methodology, the power of a method is inversely proportional to the generality of the method, i.e.: the more specific the method, the more powerful.


rather general (not very powerful)

  • the exception proves the rule;
  • blame your predecessor;
  • when in doubt, cut it out;
  • to understand something is to stand under it;
  • false dichotomy, as "there are two kinds of people in the world"

somewhat specific

  • find, then control key variables to make an experiment reproducible.
  • make hypotheses, then try to disprove them;
  • form a question, the answer to which will divide the problem space into two subspaces of about equal size;
  • Occam's razor: all else being equal, the more likely hypothesis is the one with fewer assumptions;
  • measure with micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with axe;

very specific (very powerful)

  • confirm presence of blood with luminol;

See also[edit]


  • Concept of Method, Justus Buchler (1985)

External links[edit]