I think the title for this post is a terrible choice, because in fact, it’s not the research that’s at fault but how people mis-interpret it. Generally speaking, most people are woefully uninformed about how science and research works, particularly in the social sciences.

Yes, there IS bad research that gets published, even in professional journals, but informed readers who understand research design and statistics can usually draw accurate conclusions about trash research. Sadly few have those skills.

Your post actually goes a ways in explaining to people some fundamentals, and the tenuous link between a single research finding, and its applicability to THEIR lives.

I’ve written a three part guide (originally for teachers) on how research works.

Part 1: Overview Of Educational Research, and What It’s REALLY For.

Part 2: Understanding The Faults Of The Peer Reviewed Educational Journal Publishing System

Part 3: Pop Education Books: Often they look authoritative but beware of relying on their interpretations even if they look objective and accurate. (Kohn, Pink, Gladwell)

It applies to the material you are talking about.

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