Solids at four months?

How, when and why to introduce foods other than breastmilk

Re: Solids at four months?

Postby Vitta » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:10 pm

In general, we need to be cautious about research findings. As you know, when research is conducted, the researchers develop a hypothesis - which is a prediction about the findings. If this prediction turns out to be true then the researchers, jump for joy because they know when their paper is written and submitted to a journal, it is more than likely to be published. That is, studies that have positive findings are more than likely to be published. However, when the study's prediction turns out to be not true or some other inexplicable result occurs, then it's less likely to be published. Therefore, negative results are less likely, if ever, to be published. Their papers then get locked away into their filing cabinets. This becomes a problem for people solely relying on researches, particularly if there are only a few papers to read on the topic, to guide advice/decision making. For every positive finding, there might be none, or many negative findings that we are unlikely to know about. Good systematic reviewers will contact researchers that found negative results that were not published and add them into their review to make it balanced. Bear in mind, that it is when a researcher is able to publish their papers that they can then receive future funding for conducting more research. But, when they fail to publish, they tend not to get funding and ... sadly more than likely get no more work. Why is this a problem? Because some other researcher goes, hey there's no research done on this topic, I know I'll do it.... sometime later, oh, no findings, file away.... and hence goes the merry-go-round. Parenthetically, it makes you wonder how much money is wasted due to this. Luckily, over the past ten years, there has been some recognition of this problem and there are some journals that publish negative findings but there's some way to go. A second point to consider is that when pharmaceutical companies, or other companies fund their own research, they are under no obligation to report findings that do not support their claims. For example, they might do many studies, find many results, some of which might not support their claims at all, but if there are a couple of findings that do, then that is what is what they publish.
Vitta
 
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Re: Solids at four months?

Postby kaybee » Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:51 pm

Vitta wrote:That is, studies that have positive findings are more than likely to be published. However, when the study's prediction turns out to be not true or some other inexplicable result occurs, then it's less likely to be published. Therefore, negative results are less likely, if ever, to be published. Their papers then get locked away into their filing cabinets.


That's exactly what this is campaigning to change. http://www.badscience.net/category/alltrials-campaign/ If all trials were published, we'd have better information overall.
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