This article will talk about how blogs differ from scientific research conducted in a lab. The term “blog” is used very loosely these days, so it can mean many different things to many different people.
With that said, most experts agree that there are three major differences between academic studies and well-written blog posts.
They are: length, sample size, and methodology.
Length is important because researchers have a limited amount of time they have to gather data. Blogs tend to be longer than an average person would normally write, which gives them more opportunity to add in additional details and examples. This also means that his or her readers have more being able to read about their topic!
Sample size refers to how much content you have to draw conclusions from. With that said, the more content you have, the better your chances of convincing someone of a particular argument. That is why there are so many great blogs out there; the writers want to share their knowledge with others!
Lastly, when writing a scholarly paper, researchers must use rigorous methods to collect and analyze their data. No one else has access to all of the parts of the study, nor do they get to pick and choose what pieces of the puzzle they include in the analysis.
This article will go into detail about how bloggers manage both of these components.
Definition of research
Defined here as “the systematic investigation, analysis, or experimentation to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of strategies, systems, or ideas”, conducting research is not the same as doing experiments for profit.
That word ‘systems’ makes this very clear – experimenting for profit is not considered research because it does not meet the definition of that term.
Research is an activity with a long history that has played a significant role in shaping human knowledge and understanding. Over time, different groups have given it various definitions, some broad and conceptual, others more narrow and literal.
However, no matter what version you read, they all imply the same thing: if someone wants to be called researchers then they must do scientific studies that test theories or hypotheses. They must gather data through observation and experiment to see whether there is correlation between a factor and the outcome under study.
They must analyze that data using appropriate statistical methods to draw conclusions. And they must publish their findings either as a book, article, report, or both so that other people can check them. That is the process by which new theories are advanced.
It is also how we achieve things like figuring out why milk is needed for strong bones or finding treatments for diseases. Pharmaceutical companies perform large-scale, expensive clinical trials on new drugs every year.
Differences between observational and experimental research
Observational studies look at how often something happens in comparison to what it looks like it happened in past instances. For example, if there are 10 cases of someone being diagnosed with cancer, then there should be around 9 people without that diagnosis who matched their age and gender group.
When doing observational research, you cannot randomly assign individuals to get the outcome you want. You have to be careful about controlling for confounding factors, but this is more difficult than using an experiment where you can easily control for one factor at a time.
Experimental research is not only limited to having access to random assignments, but also by limiting participant exposure to risk or potential intervention. This makes results less generalizable to the population as a whole.
Differences between animal and human research
There are some important differences that exist when it comes to conducting non-human or more specifically, preclinical studies versus clinical trials. First, what is the study goal? For example, if you want to learn how well a new heart medication works on dogs, that is a preclinical study. If you want to know whether this drug will work for you as a treatment for cardiovascular disease, then that is clinical trial!
Second, what species are being used for the experiment? As mentioned before, studying drugs on animals is not always helpful because they are different from humans. Animals such as mice, rats, rabbits, and cats are sometimes used for experiments because of their similarities to people in terms of physiology and genetics. However, testing medications on primates or even larger mammals like cows, pigs, or goats can be very valuable since we share similar physiologies.
Third, what endpoints are being measured? This refers to what numbers are looking for effectiveness of the test substance. A typical endpoint in a veterinary setting would be something like weight gain or changes in body temperature. In a human clinical trial, however, patients’ overall health and symptoms are typically the main focus because those suffer longer exposure to the experimental product.
Fourth, where these studies are done and who pays for them influence the results. Funding sources and ethical guidelines vary greatly depending on which country the study takes place in as well as what kind of products being tested.
One of the most important differences between research studies that are considered anecdotal versus those categorized as scientific is how sample size is calculated. An anecdote has no statistical value unless you have enough examples to draw conclusions from.
When someone tells a story about how they lost weight or found an effective health tip, it’s hard to determine if their results were due to chance or natural improvement or whether there was truly something special about this particular diet or exercise regime.
With regards to marketing products, advertisements are influenced by market forces and psychology. Marketing strategies will often include exaggerations or false statements to influence people into buying a product.
It can be difficult to tell what effects these tactics actually have until we have evidence outside of anecdotes. Due to limited access, most people are not able to perform adequate systematic tests to prove or disprove claims.
A large part of marketing research is conducted through surveys. More advanced types of survey questions include use of pre-existing tools or software to create your question, and then conducting the survey online or via smartphone app, etc.
A very important factor when doing market research is accounting for potential confounding variables. This means making sure that you have controlled for things like culture, gender, age, income level, and more in your findings.
Why? Because there are always going to be differences in people’s answers depending on what they believe an agency or company to be looking for. For example, if someone doesn’t know much about fashion, they might give less thoughtful responses about how best to dress for an event.
Similarly, if someone hasn’t read enough material about a product or service, they may not apply their knowledge correctly when taking the survey.
Advantages of a scientific research process
One important thing to note about scientific experiments is that they are not conducted under false pretenses. You may have heard stories of someone who paid for a tea drinker’s test-run or how companies will pay people to be their healthy lifestyle change ambassadors.
That’s totally unethical, and we can all agree! But it is very common when conducting an experiment. People are paid to use a certain product, go through a weight loss program, or perform a specific activity because they get a reward (like money or food) for it.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should be aware of it when deciding whether or not to rely on these studies.
A study might just want you to keep buying their product or taking part in this exercise class for financial reasons. Or maybe they want your money so they can continue doing what they’re doing already, which could potentially hurt you later.
Disadvantages of a scientific research process
There are some important differences between doing an experiment in the real world and conducting an experimental study in a lab. One major difference is that for observational studies, you will not be using chemicals or apparatus to test your hypothesis.
Another limitation is that people cannot give informed consent to participate in observational studies. If they were able to do so, then there would no longer be limited access to quality health care because patients could choose whether or not to use a certain product.
A third significant disadvantage is that results of observational studies can be influenced by many factors outside of the tested theory. For example, people who use herbal supplements more often may have healthier diets than those who don’t.
Your conclusions should be questioned if only natural products are being used as a factor. More likely, however, is that participants in the trial decide to use the intervention or not depending on whether it works for them.