Critique of an article using the Scientific Method
Critique of an article using the Scientific Method
The paper Politics and Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean is a research paper authored by Evelyne Huber, Francois Nielsen, Jenny Pribble, and John D. Stephens. This paper is a time series analysis of the impact that politics and policy bring about on inequality in the scope of Latin America and the Caribbean. This research is based on various models consisting of sociological and economic variables, plus the strength of the democratic tradition, as well as the distribution of long-term legislative partisan political power and the social spending to explain inequality variations.
As a study that aims to analyze social factors and its effect on the inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean, this research was able to conform to the Scientific Method, despite some instances where there are some unsupported arguments. Basing on the Scientific Method of research, we’ll first know what these researchers wanted to find out. What do these people want to learn about? The researchers’ primary concern was to determine what factors are contributing to the inequality levels in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Their initial expectations were political variables such as partisan legislative power, strength of democratic tradition, and the nature of social expenditures were the ones initially determining these inequality levels. Another assumption regarding this matter is that these variables have weights different from the ones in advanced modern/industrial societies. One of their basis for this assumption is that most advanced industrial countries have uninterrupted records of democracy as compared to that of Latin America. These countries were able to establish welfare states that redistribute the income.
They’re basing their assumption on previous records like the overall size of welfare states and the structure of taxation expenditures. Closely looking at this matter, we can say that what these researchers wanted to find out was somehow in line with the use of scientific method. They came up with an inquiry which is based on previous data. They also gave their hypothesis as to what they expect about their assumption. In relation to this, their assumptions were given as an answer to their inquiry, and that will be the basis of how they’ll go about with this research.
They came up with a set of data gathered from previous information from other studies and published articles. One of the bases that they used was studies which utilized multiple regression analyses of inequality in developing countries. They used this information as a pattern or guide in conducting their own study. One study made by Morley is about the determinants of differences in inequality of income distribution among countries in Latin America. Here, he combined multiple regression analysis with case studies of nine countries.
Because of this, he came up with variables which play an important role in his research. These variables include national income, inflation, education, economic reform indices and land distribution. These variables are essential because it can also be used for other researches like this one. Basing on the scientific method, we can say that it this research made full use of the information from previous studies. They were able to gather essential information which they could use in proving their assumptions for this study.
However, they may have overused the information and relied on it too much. There is a great resemblance of their research with that of Morley’s, that’s why it ma have resulted to something similar. The point is, they could have altered several aspects in other researches and not just utilized everything from that one into their own. If they are expecting to find something new, then their research should be something new also. Other researches are there for additional information and guide, that’s why they shouldn’t dwell on it always.
The researchers came up with different hypotheses on democracy, political parties, social spending, economic development, inflation, demography, ethnic composition, education, foreign direct investment, the informal sector, and land distribution. They were able to give arguments and related studies as to how these factors were able to affect the inequality in Latin America. However, the way they presented these factors and how they reasoned out regarding its effect on the state of inequality in the area is questionable.
The scientific method should be based on facts and concrete evidences. Surely, they were able to provide related literature for most of the factors, but in some, they also tried injecting their own opinion without giving any basis for saying that. The scientific method relies on how you will be able to back up your statements by using previous studies or materials from previous researches. If you are to say something without backing it up with concrete evidence, then the information you are relaying is questionable. The research posed a lot of information regarding these factors.
But not all of the information that they gave were verifiable by evidence, so the credibility of their statements are somewhat questionable, thus making their research somewhat weaker. The next step of the scientific method involves gathering and organizing data for the research. Here, we see that the researches devoted enough time and effort to come up with sufficient data. Their main sources of information were secondary data from various country’s statistics, and how it was related to that country’s social and economic situation.
They utilized various analytical methods in interpreting this data, sorting it in manner where one could clearly see how it affected the inequality for the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this part, they were able to stick to the scientific method of conducting a study wherein they properly gathered and sorted the data to be analyzed. As a result, they were able to come up with the necessary information which was interpreted. The results are there in order to verify and support the hypothetical claims that they made earlier on the study.
This could either prove or disprove their assumptions. The next part of the scientific method is the discussion of the results before actually concluding the research. The results showed that the assumptions regarding the outcome of the study were strongly supported, wherein politics is really important in shaping the inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean countries. The democratic records were one of the strongest evidence for this, along with the cumulative record of the strength of left-of-center parties in the legislature, as well as the interaction of social security spending and democracy.
It has left us with the conclusion that democracy is very important for inequality. This could be quantified in two ways, which are: 1) it allows the leaders who are concerned with the welfare of the underprivileged to let them build organizations in the form of political parties, and 2) allow those parties to establish a support base, and to gain necessary influence in the legislature and be able to use that influence to shape various policies is the direction of redistribution.
The conclusion can be well associated with the scientific method, as it summarized the results and mentioned the possible implications of the research. Another problem is whether the research can easily be repeated for the purpose of verification. With all the necessary factors at hand, reproduction of this research may be hard because the political state of a country can be changed, thus affecting the variables it has previously possessed.