Estimates of error must also be made. Claims to knowledge vary substantially according to the strength of the research design, theory, and control of extraneous variables and by systematically ruling out possible alternative explanations. Although scientists always reason in the presence of uncertainty, it is critical to gauge the magnitude of this uncertainty. In the physical and life sciences, quantitative estimates of the error associated with conclusions are often computed and reported. In the social sciences and education, such quantitative measures are sometimes difficult to generate; in any case, a statement about the nature and estimated magnitude of error must be made in order to signal the level of certainty with which conclusions have been drawn.


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