Research Methods

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TIGHAR has called on a wide variety of scientific disciplines to help test the Niku Hypothesis.
  • Oceanology: reef formation, tide studies.
  • Meteorology.
  • Forensic anthropology.
  • Celestial navigation.
  • Materials testing.
  • DNA testing.
  • Archaeology.
  • Aerodynamics (calculation of range of the aircraft).

In addition, TIGHAR has done a great deal of archival and historical research, guided by the conviction that contemporary, first-hand accounts (primary sources) are to be given more weight than anecdotes, legends, or stories recorded at a much later date (secondary sources). Whether history is to be ranked as a science is something for historians, historiographers, and philosophers of science to debate among themselves. TIGHAR has made every possible effort to present the documentation for its case by assembling the primary sources in Research Bulletins and Research Papers (among a multitude of other resources provided on the main website.

"The Earhart Project is TIGHAR’s science-based investigation testing the hypothesis that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan landed, and eventually died, on Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro, in the Republic of Kiribati. Archival research and nine expeditions to the Phoenix Islands have uncovered a compelling body of supporting evidence. Archaeological excavations during the Niku VI (2010) next expedition, scheduled for May/June 2010, will aim to recover artifacts from which Earhart’s DNA can be extracted. The expedition will also include a deep water search off the atoll’s fringing reef for the wreckage of the airplane."[1]