Browsing by Subject "science studies"

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  • Wang, Shengyu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Natural scientists study a wide variety of species, but whether they have identified all studied samples correctly to species is rarely evaluated. Species misidentification in empirical research can cause significant losses of money, information, and time, and contribute to false results. Thus, I study the abundance of species misidentification and ecologists’ perceptions of such mistakes through a web survey targeting researchers from scientific institutes around the globe (including universities, research societies and museums) who completed their doctoral degree in any ecology-related field of science. I received 117 responses with either work or educational background from 30 countries. I found that species misidentification widely existed in respondents’ research: almost 70% of the respondents noticed species misidentification in their own research, while the estimated proportion of existing studies with species misidentification was 34% (95% CI: 28% - 40%). Although misidentification was mainly found during specimen collection, specimen handling and data analysis, misidentifications in reporting stages (writing, revision and after publishing) could persist until publication. Moreover, according to respondents, reviewers seldom comment about species identification methods or their accuracy, which may affect respondents’ (both leading and not leading a research team) low reporting frequency about the possibility of misidentification. Expert checking, training students, and DNA barcoding are the most prevalent approaches to ensure identification accuracy among respondents. My results imply that species misidentification might be widespread in existing ecological research. Although the problem of species misidentification is widely recognized, such an issue seldom be appropriately handled by respondents. To increase the accuracy of species identification and maintain academic integrity, I suggest that researchers need to focus more on the study species (e.g., sampling process, identification method, and accuracy) when writing and reviewing papers. Furthermore, I appeal for guidelines about reporting species identification methods and their accuracy in papers, as well as research on education about identification skills in universities, as these two topics may constrain the precision of species identification.
  • Särkelä, Andreas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    “Populism” has become one of the most studied and contested concepts in contemporary political science. Whereas the standard explanation for the concept’s inadequacy tends to be its ambiguity, this thesis argues the contrary: it is not understood ambiguously enough. Considering that the contemporary academic field, known as populism studies, heavily relies on representationalist ontologies, this thesis argues for an ontological turn towards a performative, nonmodern and multiple ontology. In such an ontology, the multiplicity and diversity of concepts are taken as constitutive of the messiness of reality, rather than as errors of scientific representation. Reality is multiple and it is performed in multiple practices. This thesis demonstrates how a certain populist reality is performed in political science by doing, first, an allegorical praxiography of Cas Mudde’s study in European populist attitudes, and secondly, of the six Eurobarometer surveys, which Mudde references as his data. The analysis outlines the methods and practices by which Mudde, and the multiplicity of issues in his analysis, enact certain concepts associated with populism, and conversely, how the concept of populism enacts Mudde and the analysis. In regard to the Eurobarometer surveys, the analysis demonstrates that the surveys do not represent attitudes “out there”, rather, they perform not only the attitudes, but the conception of an out-thereness in form of a European public opinion. The survey questionnaires can be seen as inscription devices, which perform the multiple realities out there to be represented in the surveys. As a conclusion, in line with the ontological premises of this thesis and following the analysis of Mudde’s study of the Eurobarometer surveys, this thesis argues that instead of understanding the concept of populism as an object, or as a representation of an object out there, it should be understood as a multiple Thing — simultaneously an actor being made to act and a subject enacting others. The concept does not represent; it collects a multiplicity of entities to perform a certain populism. Instead of treating the concept as a particularity, it should be understood as a multiplicity constituting a mess.