Research writing is a responsibility that not all authors create honestly. While universities and medical professionals may churn out honest and unbiased papers, there are many writers, companies, and professionals who will purposefully skew research in their favor.
“Good” research is what we expect all research to be unbiased and truthful. This is the type of research paper produced by those who have no ulterior motive behind heir work. Conversely, “bad” research is just that. Bad. This sort of writing can lean one way or another depending on personal beliefs or financial ties. For-profit and some non-profit stakeholders, such as pharmaceutical companies, fast food chains, and political parties, may create research that arcs and bends to fit their ideals and goals. Oftentimes, facts and findings that contradict what the writer is trying to convey are omitted completely.
Money in relation to research is an important conversation. Studies are costly and require sponsors to pay for the equipment, technology, office space, and people to perform trials. Pharmaceutical companies are one of the biggest contributors to this type of research, but there are ways to reduce bias for these papers. Firstly, by announcing a financial disclosure, readers can understand that the writer has been paid by a company and that their research may cater to that business. Second, being transparent and reporting all relevant details, including how the results were found, helps show readers that the information that they are reading is truthful. Third, explaining all sides of any potential argument is vital to removing possible biases. Playing devil’s advocate to the hypothesis and findings is imperative to sound research.
Perhaps as important as writing sound research is reading it. Thinking critically, readers need to determine whether or not the article they are presented fits the needs of their research while deciding if the information is truthful and unbiased. Reading financial disclosures and locating opposing viewpoints within the body of work is crucial to conducting good research for one’s own good research.