I’ve been a fond reader of retraction watch for over a year now. It is quite interesting to read the reports of how science corrects their own mistakes. Sometimes it is just plain old fraud, such as the case of Stapel, but also other Dutch researchers. But sometimes the stories behind the retractions show that there are also ‘legitimate mistakes’ that lead to such a retraction, for example this retraction from Genes and Development in which “it’s quite clear there isn’t even a whiff of misconduct or fraud”. Please check out the Retraction Watch blog or read an interview with one of its founders which appeared in the de Volkskrant.
Tomorrow I will teach at the graduate course ‘Design and analysis of clinical research’. My part is to introduce the concept of confounding which i demonstrate through the general idea of ‘confusing of effects’. Perhaps a bit ‘oldskool’, but it works as a nice introduction to the concept without a direct confrontation with DAGs etc, especially since it helps to think in ways to prevent / solve this problem in data analyses. What ‘arrow’ in the classic confounding triangle can be removed?
I also go into the concept of ceteris paribus, which is further explored through examples of IV analyses. These examples can be historical (Boylston and inoculation) or recent (mendelian randomisation on CRP and CVD disease).
Slides are present in the presentations section of this website.