This is what somebody at the University of Louisville says about assumptions in research: “An assumption is an unexamined belief: what we think without realizing we think it. Our inferences (also called conclusions) are often based on assumptions that we haven't thought about critically. A critical thinker, however, is attentive to these assumptions because they are sometimes incorrect or misguided. Just because we assume something is true doesn't mean it is.”
This is advice to research students: “Think carefully about your assumptions when finding and analyzing information but also think carefully about the assumptions of others. Whether you're looking at a website or a scholarly article, you should always consider the author's assumptions. Are the author's conclusions based on assumptions that she or he hasn't thought about logically?”
be testable; that is, it should allow restatement in an operational form that can then be evaluated
assumptions than would be permitted in geology or physics or chemistry.
When archaeologists are fixed in this mind-set, they can ignore scientific methods even though they use “scientific” tools in their research. They can claim, as MPP has done, that archaeology is not a science and that it is therefore freed from scientific constraints. So assumptions rule, and evidence and arguments from other disciplines (such as geology, geomorphology or pedology) can be ignored if they are inconvenient.
It is of course deeply worrying when this style of thinking becomes prevalent, and when papers which are deeply flawed scientifically are published in “reputable” journals. It is even more worrying when people say to me (as they have done) that we should not apply scrutiny to the papers published by archaeologists, because they are always dealing with the erratic obsessions and belief systems of human beings — so if something makes no sense whatsoever, that’s perfectly all right........