Thread: Covid Vaccine?
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Old 12-07-2020, 10:01 AM
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Blackcat31 Blackcat31 is offline
 
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Even well-researched, comprehensive scientific reports often draw conclusions that we later learn are inaccurate.

Often, scientists begin testing a theory with a correlational study, which can show a connection between two things.
But a positive result doesnít mean that one thing causes another. For example, a famous study of middle school students showed that youth with larger foot sizes had better reading comprehension. But having larger feet does not cause someone to be a better reader. The correlation most likely had more to do with the age of the students.

Yet researchers often begin with a correlational study because they are shorter and less expensive to conduct in contrast to more robust randomized-controlled trials.

Contrary to what many non-scientists seem to believe, the key feature of empirical testing is not that itís infallible but that itís self-correcting. As the physicist John Wheeler said, ĎOur whole problem is to make mistakes as fast possible.'Ē

The trouble comes when media sources report the results of correlational studies as proven facts, instead of the first step in a years-long research process.

Another problem occurs when science reporters take research findings out of context. Instead, we must take into account the conditions under which research is conducted. This is especially important in social science research, where it is more difficult to control for all of the variables in a given situation.

Consider the following example: A feather and a lead ball dropped from the same height will reach the ground at the same time ó but only if there is no air resistance. Typically, scientific laws allow us to predict a specific behavior only under certain conditions. If those conditions donít hold, the law doesnít tell us what will happen.

The take home message?

Scientific research provides important information to help guide decisions about our lives. But itís important to think critically about the research you read, and be open to new developments as scientists learn even more about our world and how it works.

(info from Cornell University ~ Evidenced Based Living)
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