This might very well be a month of ranting. Who knows? The month is young. For today, I just want to talk about human error and what that can do to research. Now, imagine you need to look up the correct name for something like a tree but all you have is its foreign name to go by. So, you research using that name and click on the first result that you get, ignoring all resource potentials and such and not questioning what you see on that page that you have clicked.
That, my friends, can turn a research paper, an article, a book, etc. into a major mishap if you, let’s say, encounter an expert in that very tree who tells you that you’ve been referencing the wrong tree or that the name has been spelled incorrectly for ten pages or so.
Okay, perhaps it’s not the end of the world if you misspell one trees name but think of it this way. If you chose that tree specifically for some symbolic reason or as a scientific support to an argument, that’s completely lost if you get it even slightly wrong. It loses its power, you could say.
Let’s face it — Thorough research is very, very important. That first resource you find on the internet might not even be factual (heaven forbid anything be wrong on the internet). That one site you like to rely on so much — guess what? — they might actually let you down occasionally. One resource for your research and fact checking just isn’t going to cut it, no matter how reliable your favorite resource might be.
The reason why I’m posting something like this is because I’ve been beating my head against the wall trying to explain to someone that they have the wrong information in some text. True, I didn’t notice the error on my own and probably would have glanced over it without a care in the world. Someone brought it up though, and then those who made the error continued to insist that they were correct because of a single source. I got curious, so I did some research of my own and found that the evidence against them was stacking up.
Now, I’m pretty good when it comes to researching. I get down-right fixated when I want to know the answer to something bad enough. I’ll do reverse image searches, every keyword I can think of, find experts and then look at their references to find more references, etc. (Thank you, good old education.). I tried to offer them some of the proof and they would still insist that they had done a thorough job and had everything correct.
Long story short — I’m right, they’re wrong. Honestly, I partly understand why they are holding to their original work but from my point of view it simply doesn’t work despite the variable that could make it work. That sounds far too confusing… Sorry, I’m being terribly vague. I cite privacy reasons. If I say anything too specific, I’ve already given both myself and the people that I’ve been trying to explain the error to a big enough headache.
Those poor people, coming across me in my crazy mode…
So, research like crazy. Well, maybe not like crazy because you’ll end up like me. Research thoroughly and, when in doubt, ask a tree expert.
Eat. Sleep. Read. Research. Write.