November 2012 Archives

Revolutionary Research

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This article shows just how much impact research can have on the world. It shows the practical side of the whole research procedure, and that history can forever be changed with a research question that challenges the norm. This requires not only innovation, but the knowledge of what it means to have a valid experiment.

Research Link: http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2012/nov/new-computer-approach-could-revolutionize-design-manufacturing

Fortune 500 Companies

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This is an all around well-done study. Not only are the results statistically valid, but they provide relevant information that their subjects can use. Knowing that over half of the companies use blogs are in the top 200 of the list, we will probably see an increase in blogs over the next year by companies. It shows just how much research findings can have a impact on the real world.

Research Link: http://news.sncr.org/news.php?include=143901

Study Criticized

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This article I find especially interesting because it isn't so much about the study itself, but the criticism that has formed around it. Scholars have called it "flawed" and "misleading" among other things. On the other hand, the authors of the study are claiming that the corn refiners are behind these attacks. The curious thing about this is audiences will not know whom to believe. Whose study is more credible? More valid?

The answers lie in the basics; one must evaluate experimental design, procedures, and methods to form their own opinion. Personally, I find it hard to be convinced the new study is accurate. The fact that they used past data and manipulated it alone is enough for me to discredit it. In order to know what would truly happen when a variable changes one must conduct an experiment, not merely speculate.

Research Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/business/new-scrutiny-for-diabetes-and-sweeteners.html?src=recg

Brand Name v. Generic Drugs

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This study focuses on the startling difference between prescription drugs that are name brand and those that are generic brand. The experimental design seems to be put together nicely, although the research group has received criticism from The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, claiming that the high average costs of name brand drugs is due to a few outliers. This shows a non-sampling error within the study. If there truly are outliers, the researchers should either note them, or find out if they are mistakes and remove them.

Research Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/business/cost-of-brand-name-prescription-medicines-soaring.html?ref=research&_r=0

Weight Loss Surgery

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This particular study is very interesting in the way that not only does it present findings, but it also critiques previous research and explains the downfalls of it. Past research studies only went back about two years, but these researchers showed drive to find out more. It correlates a little with the past post about long-term research, and how being patient is key in finding true results. Another interesting part of this study is that it looked at a very broad subject, something that affects hundreds of thousands of people, and something that is very recent. It shows the push popular culture gives to research and how research is forced to keep up with the times.

Research Link: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/weight-loss-surgery-may-not-combat-diabetes-long-term/?ref=research

Cell Phone Addiction

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There was a recent study in which it was noted how an addiction to cell phones is comparable to a drug problem, extreme spending tendencies, or multiple other types of addiction. It goes into depth about average use of a college student, why they have such tendencies, etc.

The biggest issue I had with this study was the way in which they collected data. They used a self-report surveys of business students at two different universities. Some questions immediately come to mind such as:
1. How do they know the students were being truthful? What was their margin of error and how were they able to determine it?
2. What region(s) were the universities in? Could there possibly be cultural differences throughout other parts of the U.S. where students use their phones more or less often?
3. Why just business students? Is there a difference in the amount they use their phones than other students at the same universities?
4. What is considered "overuse"? How did the researchers come up with that definition?
5. It was noted that this study was the first of it's kind? How do we know the results are accurate when we have no other studies to compare it to?

Clearly, this topic needs a little bit more attention before this study can be declared concrete. Not saying that these results could not be correct or, on the other hand, that they're the end-all be-all of cell phone use knowledge, we just need more data from bigger samples.

Research Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128122045.htm

"Experiments That Keep Going and Going and Going"

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This article examines two different cases of long-term research and the struggles and triumphs that accompany these journeys. After reading through this, I found a couple aspects extremely interesting. First off, the fact that they have been able to keep the experiment constant is a huge accomplishment. One, started in 1879, has been going strong since and has been controlled by many scientists all working towards the same goal. It's proof that being meticulous and having a strong experimental design has been key since over a century ago. I also think that this is really something people performing experiments have to keep in mind; if the research lasts longer than their lifespan, would others be able to take over in exactly the same nature?

Another thing I found interesting was the fact that these scientists realize that they most likely won't be alive when results are found. This not only shows how much passion they have for their work but also their true understanding of their subject(s). They get that nature needs to take its course and in order to get valid results, they simply can't rush the process.

Research Link: http://www.npr.org/2012/11/23/165030844/experiments-that-keep-going-and-going-and-going

"Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?"

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In a recent study, link found below, Yiannis Aloimonos found that orchestral players respond to the conductors movements, i.e. the conductors actually do lead the musicians. After reviewing the study, however, I found a few glaring problems with their methods. First and foremost, they used musicians from a certain region of Italy. The biggest problem with this is that there is a large possibility that cultural behavior in Italy could vary greatly from cultural behavior in other parts of the world. The Italian musicians may be more or less disciplined than other musicians of the world. I would be very curious to see what would happen if they did the same studied repeated in randomly selected countries.

The other problem with the study was that, although they used two different conductors, there is no real way to measure the amount of emotion and passion the conductors put into their job. I would guess that there would be a huge difference in musician reaction depending on the personality of the conductor. There is no way to know, however, the relationship with the conductors have with their musicians outside of the testing, and how well they are able to "feel" each other out while playing.

Study Link: http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2012/11/27/165677915/do-orchestras-really-need-conductors

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