[article] How Reliable Are the Social Sciences? - NYTimes.com

Public policy debates often involve appeals to results of work in social sciences like economics and sociology.  For example, in his State of the Union address this year, President Obama cited a recent high-profile study to support his emphasis on evaluating teachers by their students’ test scores.  The study purportedly shows that students with teachers who raise their standardized test scores are “more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries, live in better neighborhoods and save more for retirement.”

The perennial question about the value of social science research for policy decisions, revisited.