It's hard to concoct a research scenario in which the investigator does not desire one result over another. Perhaps a bit of government-supported contract research falls into this category--the engineer paid by the Air Force, let's say, to measure the tensile strength of several compounds or the biochemist paid by the Food and Drug Administration to assess the bioactivity of two generic agents.
But most investigators do care about the results; that's why they do the research in the first place. And that's why, on a regular, sometimes daily, basis your everyday working scientist comes up against the conflict between her desire to achieve a certain result and her obligation to uncover the truth. That conflict is an important part of the scientist's inner world. It influences every feature of the research endeavor from the research question selected to research design, methods of measurement, and the statistics applied in data...
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?