Monthly Archives: April 2014

Generalizability

Research Concept: GENERALIZABILITY

Primitive Atmosphere, Charted Experiment

Primitive Atmosphere, Charted Experiment


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TO STATE THAT RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT cannot be argued against. Scientists, doctors, teachers, indeed non~profit organizations and governments conduct extensive research. One end of conducting research or experimentation is to obtain externally valid results or data which appears to be what it’s stated it is. Results, not simply to have data, but meaningful data that can sometimes be generalized to larger populations. Quantifiable data, or measured data, begins with a hypothesis [n1].

Example hypothesis: Can a moderate level of alcohol intake impair brain function (motor function)?

Varied tests/research of alcoholic effects on the brain have proven this hypothesis in the affirmative, producing applied knowledge via tests that were very reliable and replicable [n2]. The generalizability of findings in this area has historically driven policy development affecting some aspect of our lives today, whether we drink alcohol or not.

Consider that our brain development unfolds into ones mid~twenties. This is partly why alcoholic beverages are not freely available to those under 21 here in America. Moreover, research from the influence of alcohol on brain development serves an even greater social purpose: that we have a duty to minimize others’ exposure to harm.

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In a complex civilization, we need confidence and faith that what we experience in life leaves minimal, if any, negative effects. Assisting us to achieve this principle end, are traits intrinsic to being human: that we are social creatures, and it is appropriate thst we care for our neighbors’ well~being.

Further, it’s no secret we require a bit of predictability – so we can go about our days with the least amount of emotional and intellectual stress as possible. Without generalizability, research, both applied and secondary, (and surveys as well) would be meaningless, and among other things, alcoholism in children would be rampant and likely, just as it was in the early 20th Century. If not for research of that issue, our society would be totally different, not for the better [n3].

Ask yourself a few questions today:

¤ How do your actions insulate others from harm?

¤ What can we take from your leadership and generalize to make ourselves more socially conscious?

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Notes:
[n1] Inter alia, internal validity, statistical relevance, causality, control for rival causal factors, influence results in research.
[n2] Random selection of subjects affects reliability of results, as well.
[n3] Experiments are not generalizable.

Image of primitive atmosphere chart courtesy of Duke University, North Carolina.

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