Special Perspectives

Some Frontiers in Social Science

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Science  30 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5782, pp. 1898-1900
DOI: 10.1126/science.1130121

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The fundamental challenge in the social sciences is moving from complicated correlations to useful prediction. Progress usually reflects an interplay between theory, data, and tools. Six areas of innovation, principally data and tools, are now pushing at the frontiers of these sciences: longitudinal data, laboratory experimentation, improved statistical methods, geographic information tools, biosocial science, and international replication. These innovations are gaining power as they cross disciplinary boundaries, helping to attribute causality to observed relationships, to understand their nature, and thereby to improve the accuracy and usefulness of predictions.

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