Talk:2020: Negative Results

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The idea of publishing "failed" investigations arose out of the demand to punish all of the results from medical trials. Then there was the realisation that more than one team may have had the same hypotheses, got funding, investigated and not published the proof that they were wrong. So the idea that a A =/= B is still a valuable finding to be reported has come about. There may seem to be lots being published due to years of keeping silent about such results. RIIW - Ponder it (talk) 20:13, 16 July 2018 (UTC)

@RIIW, you meant 'publish' instead of 'punish trial results'? Save the results from violent you! Sebastian -- 05:38, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

There can be several reasons, why a study has a negative outcome or is delayed. Most of those, especially from smaller studies, are not directly related to the matter being investigated, but more to study design, analysis tools or organizational issues. It is much easier to get a wrong or no result than the correct one. The best solution is to somewhere publish these failed experiments and describe the circumstances and reasons so that it can be judged by a third party (even if that is an embarassment for the scientists in an institution). But if you report that you have started a study, and the reasons are rather mundane as in the case within the comic, what should you report? The truth? Should you lie? Sebastian -- 05:38, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

If you start a study and are still working on it, you don't need to publish that you are behind schedule, that's not relevant to the matter being investigated (usually). If you start a study and abandon work on it before you get to the experimental stage, you don't need to be any more specific than that. If, however, you get to the experiments, you should describe them and their results as well as you are able, even if you think that the results are useless or you found that you set the experiments incorrectly ; such results can help someone else who would think about making similar experiments, and in some cases may even be directly useful to someone testing different theory. -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:12, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

I don't think the "null hypothesis" is a reference to 892: Null Hypothesis, as the explanation currently says. Sure, the comic doesn't mention any particular null hypothesis, but it does say "...the null hypothesis in any research areas", which might equally have been phrased "the null hypothesis of any research areas". In which case he's just saying that he hasn't rejected anyone's null hypothesis lately, not that (as in the earlier comic) he's treating "the null hypothesis" as a single, refutable-once-and-for-all thing. -- Peregrine (talk) 08:32, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

The plural in research areas did not seem correct until I read [[1]]a quote from Michael Swan (Practical English Usage, Oxford University Press, 1995):

   "Any is a determiner. It generally suggests an indefinite amount or number, and is used when it is not important to say how much/ how many we are thinking of. Because of its "open," non-specific meaning, any is often used in questions and negative clauses and in other cases where there is an idea of doubt or negation (p. 48)."

Connection to Significant[edit]

There was a previous comic about publication bias, 882: Significant. 10:02, 18 July 2018 (UTC)