Producing a Robust Body of Data with a Single Technique

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Gandenberger, Gregory
preprint description
Many techniques used in science produce raw data that requires interpretation. In many cases, it is impossible to discover or test by direct observation a method of interpreting raw data. It is natural to assume that in such cases the justification for a method of interpretation must come from a theory about the process that produces the raw data. Contrary to this view, scientists have many strategies for validating a method of raw-data interpretation. Those strategies can be used to produce multiple arguments in support of a single technique that may depend on largely independent sets of presuppositions. Thus, it is possible to produce a robust body of data with a single technique. I illustrate and support these claims with a case study of the introduction of the cathode-ray oscillograph into electrophysiology.