The causal influences on educational outcomes are complex and uncertain, leading some commentators to exaggerate or dismiss research findings in accordance to their ideological positions. However, education isn’t the only field of science which deals with trying to identify the causal mechanisms which underpin a highly complex system whilst facing significant controversy – and maybe we should take a leaf from their book in the way that we report and discuss summaries of education research.
Climate change is an enormously complex field. Like education, the causal mechanisms are almost impossible to unequivocally identify from individual studies and ideological views can easily distort the interpretation of the available evidence.
The way that the IPCC gets around this issue is by issuing guidelines regarding the treatment of these uncertainties. For example:
The AR5 will rely on two metrics for communicating the degree of certainty in key findings:
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