Friday, December 09, 2016

I Found A Study Which Proves My Point

Consider this to be a subtweet (or subblog) to EVERYBODY.

It's been a long time since I've been in academia, but one thing I know is that good research (or even bad research, really), especially in social sciences and medical research (often the research problems are similar even if medicine sounds more like actual SCIENCE), is a long, grueling process. One reason it takes people a long time to get through grad school is that it takes a long time to process and understand the relevant "literature" for whatever issue they're looking at. It isn't just enough to know The Math or The Statistics, it's necessary to know the evolution of thought and rough consensus to understand where the current thinking is both about a particular problem and the best ways to approach looking at the problem. It takes a hell of a long time to essentially create the "lit review" for your dissertation, however much of it actually makes it into your dissertation. Gotta know what came before to understand where we are now.

In the great and glorious age of the internet it's easy for everybody to do a quick search, punch up an abstract of some study or review of studies that somebody has done, maybe go as far as reading the conclusion, and declare the problem solved and your point proved fucking right. But it really isn't that easy. Good social science research should never sell itself as the definitive word on a topic, and nor should anyone else.