Sunday, September 25, 2005

Next time you see a science study

I want you to think of this (thank you normblog)

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.

"We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery," Ioannidis says.

In the paper, Ioannidis does not show that any particular findings are false. Instead, he shows statistically how the many obstacles to getting research findings right combine to make most published research wrong.

so folks Smoke'm if you gottem

eat those egg yolks

and for god sakes stop excersising

because without science we would have to rely on common sense to tell us those things were bad.

Surprisingly, Ioannidis says another predictor of false findings is if a field is "hot", with many teams feeling pressure to beat the others to statistically significant findings.

like oooooooooooooh Global Warming or Stem Cell Research or Food X is bad for you

but this -DID- come from a scientific study


But next time some one tells you science X is established fact... take a note from a scientist in this article

"When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about," he says.

I need to check out a goat's entrails now to see how the weather is going

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