Week 4 -falsified research findings

The video and the alternate universe was great – http://ori.hhs.gov/thelab.

It was very well done, even though I am  not sure how much it actually prevents people from falsifying data.

I question the value of research data in general. I don’t think too many researchers actually falsify data on purpose and most of those who do are never caught. Only a few make it into the news (like Hwang Woo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwang_Woo-suk).

But I think that there is a huge quantify of data that is wrong by accident. It is soooo easy to make mistakes and never catch on to them. Replication and Redos help, but still.

This article is a very interesting read: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0020124

“a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance.”

It is scary to think about. So much of our lives depend scientist research and polls etc.


About christink

PhD Candidate at VT
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4 Responses to Week 4 -falsified research findings

  1. Anca says:

    I think it’s say that some people who have publications and have committed violations are never caught…

  2. phb says:

    I agree that the alternate universe might not prevent data falsification. However I found it very useful to go through the process of the complainant. It helped me really think about what I would do if I were in a situation where I expected someone else of data falsification.

  3. danielmc says:

    I agree with phb
    I see the topic more as a help for us, It helped me as well to think about what should I do in those cases. Actually, I found all this week’s material really useful and interesting.

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