Research methodology

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Research methodology describes the process in which data is collected by researchers, while statistics concerns itself with what these data mean. Applying a consistent research methodology is an important component to why the scientific method is able to allow for replication. Research methodology is analogous to instructions within a cookbook; following these instructions is what ensures that different persons are able to produce the same outcome. Having a good grasp of research methodology is important when one is trying to understand scientific literature. The phrase, “Research has shown...” is ubiquitous and without further information is pretty much useless in the evaluation of a claim. If people always preface their claims with, “Research has shown…” but are consistently unable to cite an author and date of the study, it may be bullshit.

Unfortunately, persons using different methodologies could claim contrary results. This means if persons/organizations are ideologically inclined towards certain findings, they will be able to disguise this bias behind a veneer of respectability. With that in mind, ideologically predisposed groups are unlikely to be falsifying data; instead they may be rigging the results by using selective approaches to data collection (e.g., selection bias).

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