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Systems Science and Population Health$
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Abdulrahman M. El-Sayed and Sandro Galea

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190492397

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190492397.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 September 2020

Wrong Answers

Wrong Answers

When Simple Interpretations Create Complex Problems

(p.25) 3 Wrong Answers
Systems Science and Population Health

David S. Fink

Katherine M. Keyes

Oxford University Press

Observational and experimental studies can often abstract complex systems in order to understand the effects of changing discrete elements of that process. Underappreciating that societies form a complex adaptive system can result in wrong answers to arguably our most important research questions, which would mean those related to population health. In this chapter there is an in-depth discussion of several examples of when simple interpretations have created complex problems in science. In particular, the chapter thoroughly explores current reproducibility problems in science to illustrate how the failure to acknowledge complexity can create inferential errors, and specifically does so within public health.

Keywords:   prediction, randomized controlled studies, observational studies, epidemiology, bias

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