As mentioned before, scientific research is an important part of our lives today. We rely on science to ensure the safety and effectiveness of everything from medicines to foods to toys.
Making informed decisions about products requires you to do your homework- which can be tricky at times. That’s why we have experts or researchers who perform experiments and collect data so that we don’t need to!
Scientists are trained in how to conduct studies so that what they produce is credible and reliable information. They must also follow certain rules when conducting experiments to avoid bias.
It may sound like a lot, but there are lots of great resources available now for anyone to learn these basics. You deserve it!
This article will go into more detail on some ways scientists check if their findings match up with other studies and what people say about a product. It will also talk about how professional researchers manage their work and publish their results.
But first, let us look at some examples of experimental testing. These will include looking at whether or not a treatment works, determines its side effects, and if there are better alternatives than trying the new intervention.
The three parts of experimentation described here apply equally well to both human and animal tests.
Part 1 – What is a study?
A study is a way to evaluate the effect of a factor (or element) on something else.
A research group is simply someone or something with which you do research. With scientific research, there are two main types of groups. You have formal research groups that require people to be formally members and use defined rules for conducting studies, and then there are informal groups where individuals collaborate on projects without being paid or organized into an academic department.
Research groups come in many forms. They can be as small as two people working together on one project or they can be large scale collaborations between universities and industry. No matter what size, all groups must have a leader who sets general goals for the group, collects and analyzes data, and communicates findings to other members.
The members of a research group should be committed to the success of the project. This means agreeing on important things like timeframes, costs, and whether participants will get compensated or not.
There may also be special requirements such as needing access to expensive equipment or materials that only some members own. Group leaders usually find ways to make up for these limitations by bringing in outside help or using resources owned by others.
In addition to having commitments, researchers must agree to keep each other’s information confidential unless permission has been given.
Ethics in research
Recent events have brought into focus some ethical issues surrounding scientific research. Stories of researchers performing unethical studies or falsifying data to gain an advantage are too common. These stories hurt the trust that society has in science as well as individual scientists!
As professionals, we owe it to ourselves and our colleagues to set high standards for ourselves before going about doing our jobs. We must also be conscious of how our work impacts others.
It is important to note that even if a study has been approved by an ethics committee and is considered ethically sound, that does not mean it will necessarily succeed!
There are many reasons why a study may fail to produce meaningful results, but one major factor is poor statistical power. Statistical power refers to the likelihood that a statistically significant result was due to chance rather than because there really was a difference between groups.
When designing a experiment, you want enough participants to ensure sufficient statistical power, but you do not need excessive numbers to achieve this. Because of this, some experiments are underpowered and thus they do not provide good information.
Independent and authoritative opinions
Even though most studies are done for financial reasons, this does not mean that they are conducted with fraudulent intent or to deceive the public. Funding can play a big part in what research is allowed to be published and how it is conducted.
Most academic institutions have rigorous policies regarding study conduct to ensure that researchers are honest and do not benefit from studying products or services that pay their bills. These policies vary depending on the field of science, so make sure you know what guidelines exist and what companies must go through before being accepted into studies.
Fields such as medicine and nutrition require very specific protocols to run tests. For example, when running an experiment testing a new drug, patients must be picked randomly to receive either the test medication or the control group medication (one that has been shown to work in similar past experiments). This way, each patient’s experience can be independently verified, and there will be no bias due to who gets the treatment and who doesn’t.
Other fields like psychology and sociology use different tools and techniques to determine if one person or thing is more influential than another. For instance, someone may ask participants about something and see which answers people give the most frequently.
Adherence to guidelines
One of the biggest issues in the scientific research community is adherence to ethical standards. Simply put, researchers must ensure that they follow certain rules before conducting an experiment or collecting data.
Ethical practices are heavily documented and published, making it easy for anyone to see how professional scientists behave. Unfortunately, this does not always translate into people outside of science copying these practices.
There have been many cases where a professional scientist has violated ethical norms, either by falsifying data or purposefully contaminating samples. When incidents like these occur, it can harm their career as well as others’ trust in their work.
As professors, we depend on students to come to us for help, and then those students often do not take our courses because they cannot believe what we do! As teachers, we also rely on the education our students receive from us so they may be deprived of that due to poor faith in academia.
Confirming your results
It is important to confirm that your experiments worked properly before concluding that your hypothesis was wrong. You should make sure that you didn’t contaminate your sample, that you mixed your chemicals correctly, and that you conducted your experiment in the right way.
It is also important to check if your result can be repeated by other people. This not only helps ensure that you got an accurate result, but it also helps prove that what you did works.
If possible, you should do a second test of your hypothesis to see if the same result repeats. In this case, you would need to control for something like changing temperature or humidity, and run your test again.
A double-blind test is one in which neither participant knows who their competition is, nor does anyone else! This removes bias as participants may feel motivated to perform better because they think people will know they are being tested.
Participants are typically assigned at random into either an experimental or control group. The participants do not know if they’re in the experiment or control group until just before the test, when researchers find out what group each person belongs to.
This way there is no chance of influence from outside sources such as friends or family members that might subconsciously motivate the participant to work more hard for the experimental team than normal.
There are many ways to conduct a double-blind test. For example, you can have participants pick a member of the opposite team as their competitor or ask them to pick something unrelated to the test topic to compare your product with.
A placebo is not an actual drug, but it does contain chemicals or substances that seem to have active properties. For example, when you take a sugar pill at a doctor’s office, it may help your body feel better and therefore believe that its symptoms are being treated with medication.
A placebo effect happens when someone feels sick and then something they perceive as medicine makes them feel better. This can be a pill, liquid, or simple conversation with a doctor, among other things.
The best placebos are called sham treatments. A fake treatment doesn’t actually do anything beyond helping patients deceive themselves into feeling more well-adjusted.
By now, most people know that observational studies – studying how frequently a symptom occurs in a population versus under what conditions the symptom disappears or improves– are powerful tools for determining whether there is a causal relationship between one thing and another.
But what many don’t realize is that experimental research also uses placebos!
That means looking at whether the effect of a potential new drug will be the same if it’s given along with a placebo vs a no-drug control group. It’s important to remember that even if a placebo has some kind of apparent health benefit, this doesn’t mean it is necessarily effective as a cure for the disease being studied.
Another way to look at it is like asking if exercise is helpful for weight loss.
The second major component of scientific research is statistical significance. This term refers to whether or not your findings are due to chance. If the results seem significant, then that means it is more likely than not that the outcome was influenced by what you studied.
When researchers test their hypotheses, they use statistics to determine if their conclusions can be proved true or false. They compare the outcomes they want to see with the number of times this happens by chance alone. When the two come in the same ballpark, we call this result significant!
However, people often misinterpret the word “significant”. You may have read about a study that found exercise helps keep your weight under control. So you try to do some exercise every day, but you feel tired so you stay in bed. Or maybe you read about how eating nuts can help reduce cholesterol. So you start eating lots of nuts, but you never get past one bowl.
Both of these examples could be described as having a significant impact. But they’re only truly meaningful if you stick to them — which most people don’t.
There’s a reason why I mentioned earlier that researchers use mathematics to determine significance. Part of that math comes down to probability. Probability tells us how likely an event is. For example, let’s say there’s a 1% chance of something happening. That means there’s a 99% likelihood that it won’t happen.