The importance of research methods and guarding against error in experiments is emphasized in Chapter 2. Humans are influenced by heuristics and biases, which can fool us into believing something that can be proven false through research. In order to guard against these tendencies, researchers must use the appropriate type of research design, which can range from naturalistic observation to experimental design. To guard against error, such as the experimenter expectancy effect where the researcher unintentionally influences the results, researchers must follow guidelines and procedures to ensure the experiment produces accurate results. For example, a double-blind experiment can guard against the experimenter expectancy effect.
While all of these details are interesting, what intrigued me the most was the ethical issues in research design. I don't believe the scientists in the Tuskegee study intentionally wanted to inflict so much pain on the subjects of their study. I believe the pursuit of knowledge consumed them and they justified what they were doing that way. While it is extremely unfortunate that such pain-inflicting studies took place, the research method "silver lining" is that they led to the strict guidelines of today. The pursuit of knowledge does not justify human suffering.