"Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”
“Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”. This is the title of an article by John P. A. Ioannidis writing in the August 30 2005 issue of PLoS Medicine
The Summary of the article is as follows:
There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, 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. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.
There has been a general increase in computer literacy by the public. It is essential that the public also develop some literacy in the subject of medical research. Medical research conclusions appear virtually every day in one or another news media resource to which the public has access. Some studies are described in terms of warnings and some in terms of miracle discoveries. Many should not be taken at their media face value, though I suspect most of public would fully believe what they are told. I think that is because most of the public is not aware of what could make the results of a research project valid or non-valid. That is why it is essential that the public become more educated in what goes on in medical research. The public would then be skeptical and want to learn more about the topic rather than passively accept the news bite that they read or hear.
I find nothing wrong in the public being skeptical. These days we accept too much from government, politicians, scientists, “experts” and the news media without scratching our heads and asking “is what they are telling me really true?” And, unfortunately, even some scientists and/or the companies or institutions for which they work fail to be as skeptical about a research result as they should when the research project is faultily designed and carried out or there is some personal or financial conflict of interest present. A little research literacy by the public will go a long way. Become a bit more literate in this subject by clicking on the web link above and reading the article. ..Maurice.