Methodological monotheism across fields of science in contemporary quantitative research

10 Aug 2022  ·  Andres F. Castro Torres, Aliakbar Akbaritabar ·

The importance of research teams' diversity for the progress of science is highlighted extensively. Despite the seemingly hegemonic role of hypothesis testing in modern quantitative research, little attention has been devoted to the diversity of quantitative methods, epitomized by the linear model framework of analysis. Using bibliometric data from the Web of Science, we conduct a large-scale and cross-disciplinary assessment of the prevalence of linear-model-based research from 1990 to 2022. In absolute terms, linear models are widely used across all fields of science. In relative terms, three patterns suggest linear models are hegemonic among Social Sciences. First, there is a high and growing prevalence of linear-model-based research. Second, global patterns of linear-model-based research prevalence align with global inequalities in knowledge production. Third, there was a citation premium to linear-model-based research until 2012 for articles' number of citations and for the entire period in terms of having at least one citation. Previous research suggests that the confluence of these patterns may be detrimental to the Social Sciences as it potentially marginalizes theories incompatible with the linear models' framework, lowers the diversity of narratives about social phenomena, and prevents innovative and path-breaking research, limiting the breadth of research.

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