Do your own research…
“Do your own research…”
I’m sorry but that’s not always the best advice. In fact it can be down right dangerous.
There are many problems with this statement. It sounds like a good idea, but here’s the thing, sometimes good sounding things are only surface deep. This is one of those.
“Do your own research…” is a bit narcissistic in nature. That may sound extreme, but bear with me on this. If I have to do my own research on important things, then the real question is this – why am I not trusting anyone else? Especially those who have devoted a large portion of their life to a subject area?
Maybe the real hang up here is how we are defining what it means to “do your own research.” In using the phrase, what I sense is that it’s not being used according to the long standing definition.
Here’s how Wordnik.com defines research:
- Careful study of a given subject, field, or problem, undertaken to discover facts or principles.
- An act or period of such study.
- Diligent inquiry, examination, or study; laborious or continued search after facts or principles; investigation: as, microscopical research; historical researches.
When I read these definitions, what I come away with is that there is a great deal of time investment, among other things. Doing your own research means observing something going on an asking a question, proposing a hypothesis that can be confirmed or denied, setting up experiments, running them, and analyzing the results under peer review. It is not an independent process.
What I hear when the phrase “Do your own research” is stated, is actually something else – confirmation bias. confirmation bias means finding information written by someone else that merely confirms a person’s preferred outcome. They held a belief at the start and found information that supports one’s beliefs and opinions. That’s not research. That spin. Confirmation bias has nothing to do with the possibility that one’s beliefs would have to be reconsidered based on conflicting data and information.
“I did my own research…” No, you probably didn’t. You probably found someone saying the same thing you already believe. And that’s fine. But can we please stop calling it research. Because it’s not.
“Do your own research…” is also problematic because it means we cannot trust people who have devoted their entires lives to doing actual research on specific topics. When I have to do my own research on a topic I know very little about (hence why I’m looking), why do I think I even know who the reputable sources are on the matter? I have no expertise after all. I have the Dunning-Krueger effect in full force. (you can look that up – do your own research. LOL).
“Do your own research…” doesn’t even make sense. Where do I possibly begin? Especially with a subject I know practically nothing about. Or I could trust someone who has expertise in the subject, been peer reviewed, and knows enough about the subject to be vulnerable enough to say that they might not know the answer. But I have faith in them because they have been studying the subject for many years and have a good understanding of it and others that I trust have said so.
Do your own research if you want, but please don’t think that whatever research you are doing is the equivalent in quality as someone who has devoted their life to a subject matter.
“Do your research” sounds like a political argument among the populace. I have been told to do my research before. I been there.
Like you, I don’t think it REALLY means what it says. On the one hand, if we all really had the time, energy, and focus to seriously research every issue, that would be great. But it is no guarantee we will all come to the same conclusions. In fact, it means we will have quite a lot more conclusions. I am a Bible student and I have researched Bible for myself and read the research of others far more skilled at it than me, and if there is one thing I am struck by, it’s how many different conclusions people come to by whatever avenue of research they conduct.
It doesnt mean research is just a crap shoot, but depending on the questions you start with, the values you hold, the inclinations and biases both you and the people you follow have, the more likely you will influence your research going in.
So what is really meant by this phrase?
I think in today’s world, it is meant to shut down an argument you don’t want to hear. You are talking to someone who holds (an) opinion(s) you don’t share and maybe you oppose. Rather than listen and consider their thoughts (or possibly after being frustrated by listening and considering) you want this person to shut up. You can’t seem to win the point by persuasion, but maybe you can shut down the other voice.
Do YOUR OWN research says at least a couple things: 1 It will isolate you to your own opinion once you have done it. Maybe others will concur, but it will be YOUR research, not that of some well-founded organization and not one endorsed by a lot of people or by important people. It will be just you and your little old opinion. Or 2 it questions the sources you have up to this point relied upon suggesting they are not worthy to persuade.
It could be BOTH, but the latter is more likely, I think, since over the last 30+ years the national media has been in flux AND highly criticized, particularly by “the right.” It turns out the media does need watchdogs to cry foul sometimes, and we should not diminish that. But the caustic atmosphere in which this observation has come to prominence is not so fair either.
Now we have a flurry of “conservative” outlets for news – outlets which certainly provide the service of watchdog, but which are completely biased in other directions too – this despite flagrantly claiming to be fair and balanced. It’s more a bold-faced lie than even almost anything to ever come out of Donald Trump’s mouth. The whole existence of most of these media outlets is based on reacting to “the main stream” or the “lame-stream” media. Just calling it “lame-stream” is insulting, and thus taking one’s self out of the fair and balanced approach.
William Buckley was a staunch conservative, but he wouldn’t stoop to such low tactics and thus you could TRUST him to be honest, to be fair and balanced as best he can.
My comment seems to lean to one side, I expect. Even I cannot escape bias. But in today’s caustic atmosphere, to give an inch in one place suggests you give a mile in all the rest too. That is not the case. I count myself as a conservative, but of course I differ profoundly on many things with my fellow conservatives – as I do with liberals for that matter. However, I embrace a number of causes which seem championed by liberals too (however, I tend to be conservative about that).
Point being, there is a lot of lies in this stuff, and what isn’t outright dishonest often isn’t well nailed down either anyway.
I say, Vote with a prayer! In fact, the vote should be optional, the prayer mandatory.
But I digress… and now I am drifting afield of the original post.
Thanx for talking about this stuff.