Is science too sloppy?

Richard Harris

Most published research findings are false.1 That’s why papers can claim one thing one day, based on “science”, only to make a 180-degree turn the next day.

There’s obviously a need for more rigor in research and that’s the topic of Richard Harris’ book, Rigor Mortis. Here’s some of his best advice:

When you read something, take it with a grain of salt. Even the best science can be misleading, and often what you’re reading is not the best science.


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  1. Lori Miller
    What do you do when you discover an error in a study? I discovered a simple math error in a study on converting one-way streets to two-way streets and wrote an email to the publisher. The article was never corrected.
  2. zbys
    Sloppy science includes... sloppy research ie poorly designed inadequately powered studies and lest we forget not so infrequently carried out by 'low mileage' (?sloppy) researchers
  3. Ca
    It's no different than any other human field of endeavour. It's about funding and ego. Any results that aren't reproducible aren't worth acting on but every legitimate first discovery was at one time unreproduced. When are the media and bad science reporters going to accept their share of the blame, eh Mr Harris? Please note that the NYP article mentions studies being 'trumpeted' and professional journals rarely do that. It's science journalists and sloppy media who scour the journals for anything they can twist into a headline and create sensation with. Science has enough problems of its own and needs to clean up its act but dont downplay the role of bad reporting in the public's confusion and disillusionment.

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