A great lecturer, and the contextuality of nonresponse

I love watching videos from Richard Feynman on Youtube. Apart from being entertaining, Feynman in the video below does explain quite subtly about what constitutes a good scientific theory, and what doesn’t. He is right about the fact that good theories are precise theories.

Richard Feynman: fragment from a class on the Philosophy of science (source: Youtube)

The video also makes me jealous of natural scientists. In the social sciences, almost all processes and causal relationships are contextual, as opposed to the natural sciences. For example: in survey methods, nonresponse is one of the phenomena that is contextual . Nonresponse always occurs, but the predictors of nonresponse differ across countries, survey topics, time, survey mode, and subpopulations. In other words, that is what makes building a theory about nonresponse so difficult.

Peter Lugtig
Associate Professor of Survey Methodology

I am an associate professor at Utrecht University, department of Methodology and Statistics.