Role of Scientific Theory in Simulation Education Research

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Summary Statement

Scientific theories are consistent explanations about how the world works. They have been shown to be plausible not only from a large amount of independent confirmatory evidence but also because rigorous attempts at falsification have failed. Other desirable features include parsimony, scalability, explanatory, and predictive power. Scientific theories differ from models and laws in the amount of evidence available and/or the degree to which they explain nature. Learning curve theory is a scientific theory with direct applicability to simulation education researchers. In this article, the authors use the example of learning curve theory to illustrate the key features of scientific theories and how they provide a meaningful foundation for simulation-based education research programs.

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