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DrWatson

What is "research"

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One thing that grates me is the folk who go round yelling - and they do yell - "do your research".

So, what, for folks here, constitutes actual research?

 

 

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A good question.  In the age of the internet there is a lot of information and data, which I think people confuse with understanding.  There is also a huge amount of confirmation bias both self inflicted and automated.  The search and news  feed algorithms can end up directing you in particular directions.  If you search up COVID conspiracies a few times you will start getting stuff fed to you about COVID conspiracies for example or go searching for sailing stuff and you probably find the online ads you see are all about sailing stuff.  You also have to be careful these days about how different news/information sources present themselves.  We have no editors these days weeding out the misinformation or so called "fake news".

We also as humans suffer from a number of internal biases. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases 

So if I am so inclined on a topic I will do my research.  I will actively seek out different views. I will not necessarily accept an "experts" view or "consensus" (see experimenters or expectation bias in the list).

I do prefer data where it is appropriate and these days I don't often express my views as it is easy to get labeled non-PC, denier, racist etc.  We have become a world of labels and internet noise.

 

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Research is fundamental to an understanding of reality, as well as a middling ability to coexist with the world in which we live. 

Without it, we would still be lunch for big cats in Africa.  

It does actually take some acquired skill to do it well, and a smidgen of humility as well. Listen to the elders. 

Research methods is also a thing - people can teach you how to do it. 

None of us knows it all, or even very much of it. 

But I do know that CBS 60 Minutes is more reliable than the National Review 

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36 minutes ago, Black Panther said:

1) you need to hang out with different  people.

 

2) same way the word theory has a different definition for a scientist than a layperson you may may have to differentiate here.

hahah, Trust me, I'm certainly not hanging out with those people... :)

 

I think Ed has a good point - the scientific method. But how many people know and can follow the scientific method?

Almost no one can be truly objective.

 

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11 hours ago, DrWatson said:

Almost no one can be truly objective.

The is the whole idea behind the scientific method - when done right, one's biases do not enter into the analysis. 

It's hard to do well - but a goal worth striving for. 

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