The Scientific Method: Or Why I Loath Metastudies


Cat Rotator's Quarterly

Every so often I am glancing through news headlines, or do not get the mute button pressed fast enough after the evening weather report, and read or hear a breathless headline about some massive medical or scientific discovery or research result. And 99% of the time, if I read or listen farther, it is the result of a single study with limited participants, or of a gigantic computer-correlated meta-analysis of hundreds of research papers that shows a two percent change in X. And never lists the starting percentage of cases of X, or the original numbers, or what the search parameters were. Or it is a computer modeled study. I have not hurled the remote through the screen, or punched my laptop, yet, but it’s tempting. Bad science seems to encourage my violent streak.

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