MILITARY MANPOWER RESEARCH: HOW BAD IS IT? HOW CAN WE MAKE IT BETTER?
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This report contends that most military-manpower research that aims to estimate causal effects suffers from flaws that render the research invalid. I discuss the objectives and ethics of research, and I give a low-math quick guide to the main pitfalls of research, While I do not test the claim that most manpower research is flawed, I show that several relatively prominent examples of manpower research turns out to be invalid, using the pitfalls I describe. This includes some of my own prior research. I end with recommendations on how to improve the research process for the Department of Defense, which includes: requiring training of researchers (beyond what graduate school taught and which could have helped me avoid my research mistakes), having review panels assess a proposed study’s methods before funding is granted, reviewing incentives at research organizations to ensure they promote high-quality research, improving quality control at research organizations, and periodically reviewing the quality of an organization’s research.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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