Fallacy refers to an error in reasoning about a unit of analysis because of faulty assumptions. There are mainly two types of fallacies involving a unit of analysis in research known as ecological and exceptional. A research paper is said to have a logical fallacy if the research conclusions at the individual level are based on the conclusions of the group (Kumar, 2018). On the other hand, reaching a group conclusion based on exceptional cases results in exceptional fallacies. Therefore, results drawn at the individual and group levels do not necessarily apply to the group and individual levels, respectively.
Fallacies and Risks they pose in Research
Five common fallacies lead to wrong research inferences and conclusions. Ad hominem fallacy occurs when a researcher deviates from the context of the argument (Davarpanah, Izadpanah & Fasih, 2021). This type of fallacy poses the risk of biases in research and results in the inconsistency of the research findings. Slippery slope fallacy occurs when the researcher draws conclusions based on an argument that anticipates cause-effect events without logical evidence. Arguments in this fallacy are mistaken because they rely on speculation or insufficiently empirical conclusions. The fallacy results in flawed conclusions and affects the reliability of the results.
Hasty generalization is another type of fallacy that over-represents the statistical data and exaggerates the statistical significance of the evidence. The fallacy occurs when a generalization is made from a sample of the population that is too small to support the conclusion (Indrayan, 2018). This fallacy leads to unreliable and incorrect conclusions which affect the validity of the research. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc is another fallacy that occurs when a researcher assumes a cause-effect relationship between events that follow each other (Davarpanah et al., 2021). It occurs when researchers use insufficient evidence to draw conclusions resulting in flawed conclusions and unreliable results.
False analogy is a fallacy that resembles inductive argument and is sometimes called the weak induction fallacy. This fallacy occurs when two items are compared despite them not sharing enough key similarities to guarantee fair comparison (Indrayan, 2018). The fallacy can be detected if the researcher can evaluate the relevance of stipulated similarities and differences to the conclusion. The fallacy affects the validity and generalization of the results in any research.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Research Methods
Scientific research is a powerful way of exploring new theories and performing their empirical validation. It employs different research methods including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods. These methodologies have several potentialities and weaknesses that researchers consider when choosing the best method to suit a given study. Quantitative methods have high representativeness and control for the subjectivity of the researcher. These methods employ several techniques and statistical tests leading to the exploration of information from different domains. However, measuring some phenomena in natural settings is difficult and there are challenges quantifying some variables when employing quantitative methods.
Qualitative methods probe and gain rich descriptive data from social phenomena. The methods are flexible and oriented to knowledge discovery. However, qualitative methods are time-consuming and face subjectivity issues, therefore, becoming difficult to get precise and concise conclusions. Researchers prefer using mixed methods because of their ability to integrate quantitative and qualitative data thus collecting rich comprehensive data. The mixed-methods foster scholarly interaction and provide methodology flexibility. However, these methods increase the complexity of evaluations and demand increased resources including a multidisciplinary team of researchers.
Citation in academic research gives credit to the authors whose ideas have been incorporated in the writing. Citing one’s work helps avoid plagiarism and locate sources that have been included in the research paper. Citation enhances the credibility of research, supports strengthens research, and provides hard evidence of original ideas. Citation furthers the author’s point and verifies the researcher’s accuracy. Researchers should therefore use citations to add significant value to their research paper by avoiding plagiarism.
Davarpanah, N., Izadpanah, S., & Fasih, P. (2021). The relationship between critical thinking, frequency, informal fallacy and evidence in argumentative writing. Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literatures Vol, 13(2), 303-319.
Indrayan, A. (2018). Statistical fallacies & errors can also jeopardize life & health of many. The Indian journal of medical research, 148(6), 677.
Kumar, S. (2018). Understanding different issues of unit of analysis in business research. Journal of General Management Research, 5(2), 70-82.