MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: how do you defend a research when it failed?

Date: Mon Feb 2 14:27:30 2004
Posted By: Michael Onken, Moderator, MadSci Network
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1075717153.Me

how do you defend a research when it failed?
this is a question that i really need an answer...our research on wether 
calamansi(citrus) can normalize glucose level of mice failed. we are having 
our defense 2 weeks from now and im scared. i dont want to be embarassed in 
front of the teachers and my classmates...please help me! thank you!

The real question is: was it the research that failed, or your hypothesis that failed? Go back and look at how you set up the experiment, what controls you used, how you collected your results; if you can demonstrate the validity of the experiment, then the results are the results! Be proud of them, and yourself, and be ready to defend your results, even if others disagree with them - more often than not, it is the people with nothing to back up their claims who will argue the loudest. One of the ongoing problems with teaching science is the extremely pervasive but completely outdated notion that experimentation is hypothesis driven. Good science is based on asking good questions, not making good guesses! The history of science is filled with researchers who misinterpreted their results, because they didn't agree with their hypotheses, only to be "scooped" by their more open-minded collegues. Be proud to be in the latter! But be warned, anytime your results differ from someone else's expectations, you should carefully review your methods, to be sure that you have correctly performed the experiment. If you understand what you have done and how, you should be able to defend any results you get.

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