“Research” vs “Web Search” How can you be confident that you're getting good information?

BRS

Is “Web Search” the same as “Research” in this hobby?

  • Yes

    Votes: 146 36.9%
  • No

    Votes: 183 46.2%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 42 10.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 25 6.3%

  • Total voters
    396

revhtree

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Thank you @Sisterlimonpot for today's QOTD!

“Research” vs “Web Search”

When I first began in this hobby my thirst for knowledge was unparalleled. Lucky for me there wasn’t a shortage of books, papers and articles written by experts in their field. Their research was based in scientific literature, testing and scrutinized by their peers. For many hobbyist, that literature became the foundation in which we built a sustainable living reef.

“I’ve done my research…, we've all read this a time or two, and perhaps you are guilty of it as well. With the popularity of search engines and information literally a click away. There’s no doubt that we are bombarded with a lot of wrong/false information. How can you be confident that you're getting good information?

How do you as a reefer define "research"? Is it visiting a handful of online sites to read peoples opinions? Or do you gain knowledge from literature written by true experts? Where do you fall on that spectrum? Or maybe it depends on the topic you're researching. If so, provide examples.

Finally, is “Web Search” the same as “Research”?


1. How can you be confident that you're getting good information?

2. How do you as a reefer define "research"?



Photo via @Tony Thompson
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Sleeping Giant

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Research and web search are close, but due diligence needs to be adhered to. Just like everything we see and read daily must be taken with a grain of salt.

I'm weirdly obsessive when I am researching topics about my reef, as most of us are, I'm sure. We are all wanting the best for our mini-ocean homes.
 

Smarkow

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I comb the scientific literature for many of my answers to specific questions (Pubmed or google.com/scholar). I closely follow several experts as well. I would categorize this as “having researched a topic” although obviously some of the evidence I will find is experimental with low numbers or “expert opinion” rather than proven fact.

I would categorize a lot of the general reading I do on the hobby as “web search,” so watching reefer’s youtube videos and build threads and forum debates... this is just a fancy way of browsing

None of what I do could be categorized as performing research in the strictest sense of the word
 

Arabyps

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No. Once you do the web search, you need to do the research.

1. How can you be confident that you're getting good information? Consider the source and their history.

2. How do you as a reefer define "research"? I accumulate as much information as possible from all relevant sources (web, YouTube, product reviews, etc.) and hon in on that which is most often agreed among the professionals and highly experienced non-professionals.
 

BeltedCoyote

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1) I look for multiple sources that corroborate whatever it is I’m looking into. I also take a look at anecdotal reports (where there’s smoke there’s usually fire). That said I’m a philosopher by training so I’m used to having to look through multiple different sources and finding a common thread. But yeah, it’s a weird line between web search and research for this hobby because there really isn’t a great collection of truly peer reviewed scientific studies within the hobby

2) I define research as investigation with a clear and defined purpose. Being mindful of the nature of your “sources” and treating them accordingly. In other words I view research as a method rather than something in and of itself (philosopher hat On for a sec there)
 

NanoReefLovers

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A web search helps you find what you need to do research. All too often it stops with a web search.

If you already have an answer in mind of what you want to find, you will find the information to back it up. I can't say I have always done research, I have been guilty of looking for the answers I want rather than the truth when it to this hobby. Thats on me. I have learned, through too much "trial" and error, to take my time and read, ask the right kind of questions and then listen to those who know more than I do. I have said it many, many times, "Impatience is the most expensive part of this hobby". It takes patient to do real research, so do real research and be patient.
 

brandon429

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I value articles by known aquarium sages above peer reviewed oceanic material for learning about aquariums. But to double check the sages, and watch for technique adaptations faster than they can report to us, I value forum post patterns above all learning.


For anything in reefing we can source and show a set of threads that over time reinforce or squelch a notion. Take stuck cycles for example :) there isn't a forum sage who hasn't written about stuck cycles


And now we have thousands of web threads that show cycles don't stall, and the sages are silent about these new patterns


Google scholar doesn't have the info

It's not in quintessential reef books

Updated cycle science comes from forum posts and patterns, faster evolution of practice

Web thread patterns keep everyone's claims in check but you've gotta sift hundreds of distractions for patterns

When somebody wants to become a sage or make a statement about reefing don't just write it in a book make or collect and analyze your own thousands of web threads and test your own patterns in public, not just in your awesome reef at home.

Web thread patterns have shot down many many claims that were once firm rules in the hobby, no other way to keep the sages humble

web threads are chock full of confirmation bias, all kinds of mis info, so deal with claims in them in lots of 100

once you find 100 live tanks doing X in a thread, X is approaching validity right before your eyes


take clownfish for example

are they really endowed with unique ability to tolerate free ammonia, different than you and I or any other animal where free ammonia does kill (.25 stuck for days, a stuck cycle) or wouldnt true free ammonia kill a tiny reef fish too?

only web threads show us twenty five thousand clowns swimming and feeding fine among .25 claimed ammonia

but no sages told us that standout detail from stalled cycle threads, happy full tanks of life, we saw patterns that didnt line up with rule and pointed it out... so they can still not write about it comfortably heh

Nobody in reefing knows how ammonia converts at what rate, when it varies. We know just about nothing regarding ammonia dynamics in reefing, shocking in my opinion. Mined and brought to you from forum post gold nuggets alone.
 
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dbowman5

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web search is a subset of research. sometimes i think of something and immediately browse for information. I have a small personal library that addresses a lot of topics and sometimes the answer i need is there. I also have access to the public library and online i can access most of the libraries in Ohio to get a volume transferred to my local library. I am a visual person and sometimes i have to see it to understand it. those are the times i head to a friend's house, the LFS, or other retail joint, or a public facility like the Newport Aquarium or Bass pro shop.
The other thing that helps me is personal experience. I model ideas to confirm that they are valid. i set something up and observe. I listen to what others write or say and compare it to other sources. Web search is a vital component but not the only way to learn.
 

SawCJack00

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I love to read, and like Jimmy, my beginnings in the hobby were way before the interwebs got all of it's knowledge, so I had an extensive book collection, many of which I still have. That being said, I do most of my research online now, as most do. For me, the proof is generally in the pudding. I communicate with and read advice from people who's tanks are successful and are tanks that I want to emulate. Even experts can be wrong. I remember when the red bug plague first started and Dr. Ron Shimek swore up and down that they were absolutely harmless and couldn't possibly be harming Acropora. As we all learned, and he eventually conceded, he was absolutely wrong, so even with scientific experts, real life experience can be even more valuable than expert opinion.

For me the information that I trust must have some real world experience behind it. The scientific experts that I trust most are ones that have long term successful reef tanks.
 

mtfish

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It takes a critical mind to do either. Since most of my research is now on the web, I have to sift through the trash and pic out the diamonds. Now a days, anyone and everyone is an expert (NOT!). I am a marine biologist by training and a environmental specialist by profession, so I have some baseline understanding of aquariums. That said, the real marine world is not the same as our "glass world". I never stop learning and researching, but the web has so much bad information. Even this forum has good and bad information. I do prefer peer reviewed data versus someone's opinion; but I do tend to trust someone's opinion if I trust that person. Does that make sense?
 

Bleigh

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I think the difference between research and a web search is the effort put towards it. When I’ve researched something, I’ve looked for multiple view points and assessed the credibility of source of information. Reading a manufacturers website on lighting is very different than having a random person give you their opinion which is very different than having Dana riddle give you advice on your setup. Each have different levels of expertise and motivations. If you can’t determine what those are from each source, you haven’t done enough web searching for it to be considered research.
 

Dr. Dendrostein

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Thank you @Sisterlimonpot for today's QOTD!

“Research” vs “Web Search”

When I first began in this hobby my thirst for knowledge was unparalleled. Lucky for me there wasn’t a shortage of books, papers and articles written by experts in their field. Their research was based in scientific literature, testing and scrutinized by their peers. For many hobbyist, that literature became the foundation in which we built a sustainable living reef.

“I’ve done my research…, we've all read this a time or two, and perhaps you are guilty of it as well. With the popularity of search engines and information literally a click away. There’s no doubt that we are bombarded with a lot of wrong/false information. How can you be confident that you're getting good information?

How do you as a reefer define "research"? Is it visiting a handful of online sites to read peoples opinions? Or do you gain knowledge from literature written by true experts? Where do you fall on that spectrum? Or maybe it depends on the topic you're researching. If so, provide examples.

Finally, is “Web Search” the same as “Research”?


1. How can you be confident that you're getting good information?

2. How do you as a reefer define "research"?



Photo via @Tony Thompson
Tonys Books.JPG
1. How can you be confident that you're getting good information?

A marine scientist from Australia contacted us recently they're trying to save a certain soft Coral(dendronephthya) in Australia and they got us from the internet and first thing they did, they did their homework and with our videos they were able to determine the amount of knowledge we have. And so we're trying to help them conserve or save certain soft Coral(dendronephthya) in Australia at this time.
So, got to do your homework, reference other sources like books and go to local Reef stores that have been in business at least five years or more.in our area there's a local Reef store that's been in business 30 years and also another one in Orange county that's been in business 40 plus years.

2. How do you as a reefer define "research"?

The example of the marine scientist clearly shows that even academia is going on the internet to sites like reef2reef and others. That's obviously part of research also again book sources and experience Reef keepers or local Reef shops that been in business many years.

This is all under research.

1611478-f5d4578db034d9446f32ab658d8730bd.jpg
 

Mr_Knightley

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A simple web search can be either productive or non, it depends entirely how you use said web search. If only one or two sources are read, then it can end up not being sufficient data to really plan off of. The ideal method for me is to look at several sources until I find something that goes against what others were saying, if I see too many more negatives then I'll be wary. I't is also essential that the writer you are reading has used the product/had the animal themselves, or at least have a similar tank to yours.
 

DivingTheWorld

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I grew up reading all the books before there was such a thing as a computer. I still have a shelf of books but honestly rarely reference them anymore. I agree that discoveries in the reefing hobby are moving faster than any book can keep up. I also feel that a book is based on the author's research, much like any other reefer. So which is more reliable, it depends.

I usually find something I'm interested in, then read multiple threads and articles discussing it until I feel I have a good enough understanding to consider trying it. I am also careful to only trust ideas written by multiple folks with successful tanks. In other words, if one person has a newish tank with a bunch of nubs and one person has a tank with colonies overgrowing each other, I tend to trust the latter a bit more.
 

Patientman

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"I saw it on the internet so it MUST be so!" … Well um … NO! However there ARE many viable and valuable resources available on line … REEF2REEF, other clubs with successful members, noted authors and marine biologists. I do use the internet as a tool …. but do NOT settle on the first "hit" as gospel truth. It is well worth your time to find and read as many article on what you are querying as possible … compare and see if there are multiple sources agreeing on methods/equipment, etc. I often tell anyone interested in getting into the hobby that you could ask one question of 10 aquarists and very likely get multiple answers … and none of them need be absolutely wrong … they are simply conveying what has worked for them! So read, research and possibly blend opinions to fit your situation and budget.
 
BRS

BIG TANKS VERSUS SMALLER TANKS...WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

  • BIGGER

    Votes: 585 76.7%
  • smaller

    Votes: 138 18.1%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 40 5.2%

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