Monday, August 03, 2015

Research Monday 1: On Retractions, Failures To Replicate and Other Bad Stuff

You get a flavor of the problems salivating and short-sighted popularization of "sexy" studies can create from this post.

I strongly recommend reading it, about a retraction of a study which argued that women are more likely to orgasm while having sex with wealthy men, because the failure it describes is a severe one, and that failure is the reluctance of journalists to tell us which studies turned out to be rubbish, especially after those same journalists avidly publicized them.  This means that it is the flawed results which readers of those journalists will believe in.

An example of a possible failure for a study to replicate is discussed in this post.  It's worth noting that NYT's John Tierney popularized the first study in his column, but as far as I can tell he never discussed the second study.  As an aside, John Tierney never found a study about the perfidy of women that wasn't worth publishing!  I have the material for that post but haven't had the time to write it up yet.

Finally, this post is all about the great interest in women's eggs and ovulation, with some pertinent links to what can go wrong in research if only people with the same bias (like the same religion) carry it out.

I keep harping on these problems not because I wouldn't love research.  I adore it!  And that's why I want it to do better.  It's my form of tough love.