Thursday, October 22, 2009

Too true to be justified?

What shocked me today in class is the fact that the design meeting and notebooks paper was rejected because the research result was straight-forward. Combining with Noah's so what question, I feel a huge discrepancy over the value of research among different people.

If a research is to invent X and prove X to be more effective under certain circumstances, it is valuable only when certain circumstances are somewhat common or typical. Researchers could convince others by answering the so what question. The same rule applies when a research concludes that X outperforms Y given Z. Both these two cases result in transformation of our current system to some extent. But when we come back to our first example, researchers seem to only reinforce our belief. In my opinion, such kind of researches may not be totally useless if:

(1) We just transited from another belief to the current one. Then reinforcement helps stabilize our drift.

(2) The research elaborate with the scope where the approach can applied, effectiveness under different circumstances, or guidelines to implement the approach.

(3) The research identifies the factors that make current belief prevalent, which implies that changes of these factors will undermine the validity of current belief.

BTW, if you guys were reviewers of this paper, would you reject it? What's your feedback then?
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