Why do we need research?
For myself, it is a scholarly inquiry, curiosity, and the desire to learn more about the world. I want to be able to discuss issues in the mustang community in a voice that is backed by as much research as I can find.
Research is not perfect, scientists aren't always truthful and fudge their data (read up on the Fat vs. Big Sugar issue, a recent discovery that changed the way we view the relative nutrition of fatty foods.). A lot of research is funded by grants, (money) and the grants come from big companies. The companies, in turn, have agendas and sometime scientist may tweak data to please their benefactors to get more grants. There are also predatory journals which publish articles that are not scholarly or scientific so just because you see someone "published," it may not mean much (more about those journals later).
If you find a lot of studies that say the same thing over and over (vaccines are safe and not to linked autism) and one study that conflicts with those studies (vaccines cause autism). It might be prudent to err on the side of the majority and conclude vaccines do NOT cause autism (and the author of the 'vaccines cause autism study 'admitted he made up his data- he lied). Most data is scientifically rigorous, subject to strict rules and regulations including behavior regarding human and animal subjects in research. This committee is called the "Institutional Review Board".
Research is the foundation of the scientific community, it drives our quest for knowledge and provides answers to questions. It allows you to make a statement "Fast Thoroughbreds win races" and back it with over one hundred studies conducted at universities all over the world, not to mention horses races all over the world as well. (I have a rescued off the track Thoroughbred, he is not fast hence why he's home stuffing himself full of lush grass).
Some studies discover things that are directly opposite other studies. It may seem that no one has answers, but that is also the appeal of research. Be curious, ask questions, never stop learning.
How does one conduct research? It's not as challenging as you might think. You need scientific sources usually in the form of research articles published in reputable scholarly journals. How do I know so much about research? I spent the past three years studying research for my doctoral degree. My research was on cervical cancer screening intervals, but I learned a lot about research in general. I have a bachelor’s degree in biology, nursing, and a Masters in Nursing in addition to a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. My husband is an environmental educator (herpetology), and he has worked for US Fish & Wildlife, the Peace Corps, and is an expert on wildlife conservation. I hope you find this blog post educational as well as entertaining.
Remember if an article you are reading comes from a journal that asks for money to publish and offers 50% off your first article; it's best to 'move along, these are not the journals you are looking for'.
I went to Google Scholar and typed “lethal white horse foal genetics” and the fifth link looked the best with not a lot of biochemistry or complex genetics terms. “Lethal white foals in matings of overo spotted horses.” Even though my science strengths are ethology (animal behavior), genetics, and medicine, I find some articles have titles I cannot grasp at first glance. I like articles with titles I comprehend immediately, with this in mind- I selected the fifth link. Clicking on the link takes me here:
Once you have the article or the abstract on a particular topic, print them out. Now, sit down with a large cup of coffee and at least five highlighters in different colors, a four color pen and read. Highlight things that make sense and get a feel for the study and what authors found in their research. Keep a legal pad hand and write the author(s)and the date of the study- then summarize. If you plan to publish your spectacular research online, download a copy of "EndNotes" (http://endnotes.com) and use it to format your word processor in a scholarly fashion It puts in your citations and formats your reference section. It's free and wonderful. It will format for APA, MLA, and AMA as well as other recognized scientific formats.
I sincerely hope this blog was useful, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org