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Parsimony

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Edited by: Published: 2017
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The ultimate goal of scientific research is to generate theories to explain and predict behavior. Theories are based on a set of assumptions that support collected data and scientific observation. The application of parsimony or Ockham’s (or Occam’s) razor is critically important to theory development as it advocates for simplicity over complexity and necessity over the superfluous to explain a given phenomenon. Specifically, only assumptions or premises validated by the data or scientific observation and necessary to explain the phenomenon are to be included in the theoretical construct. Moreover, when competing theories with the same predictive power exist, the simplest theory or the one with the fewest number of assumptions (i.e., the more parsimonious theory) is preferred as it reduces the risk for ...

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