Not every experiment produces evidence which demonstrates that something is true. This exercise focuses on the kinds of questions we should ask before we accept research results as evidence.
Examples of these questions include:
Who conducted the research - a company that wants to sell its products or scientists at a well-known university?
Were the results of this research published in a scientific journal or did the researchers put their own results on the internet?
When was this research published?
Did similar recent studies get the same results?
Evaluating Research Results
Unless an experiment is well-designed and conducted according to accepted scientific methods, results of the experiment will not produce valid evidence. In addition, one single experiment is usually not enough to demonstrate anything, because the researchers may have made an error during their study. Examples of these kinds of errors include variables that were not carefully controlled or instruments that did not provide accurate measurements. In many cases, research results are not regarded as reliable evidence until additional experiments are conducted by other researchers who produce similar results under similar conditions.
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