“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

Paul B

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When I got into the hobby there were no reef books as there were no captive reefs then (1971)
The only salt water fish book I knew of was "The Saltwater Aquarium in The Home" By Robert Straughn.

The man collected and kept just about everything and that was in the fiftees.
I read that many times and still have it. But no one kept reefs then and not much was known about bacteria, nitrogen cycles, ich (which we know as oodinium) etc.

So In about 1972, I got certified for SCUBA diving and have been diving every since.
So when I wanted to learn about Moorish Idols, I went to Bora Bora in Tahiti and spent time with them where they live. I did that for most of the fish we keep and the fish told me how to keep them alive and happy.

 

HuduVudu

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This is a philosophical question that is meta to this or any hobby.

The relevant question is; how do you know that you have obtained correct information.

For me the only way to determine the "truthfulness" is the ultimate arbiter of truth ... reality.

We as humans are deficient in our ability to see full reality so for me if an idea can be demonstrated in reality to have merit or predictive value then I will weigh it more heavily toward being the truth. If not then I will weigh it more heavily toward being not truth. I think the yin yang symbol sums this idea up quite nicely.
 

Treefer32

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I prefer scientific data over opinions. I don't know who is a paid advertisor vs. an evangelist that cool product A (vibrant comes to mind) solved all my problems so it should solve all your problems too.

There's too many religious evangelists and not enough fact based advisors. Sometimes the religion and the facts do align and do agree. Which is great and I'll be first to be an evangelist then. However anecdotal evidence is not fact! We've all done it. Just have to realize facts are defined by nature and people's job is to interpret nature in a repeatable way. :)

So just an anecdotal thought to top it off (see I'm guilty too :)). I had asked an online marine fish vendor about how to make sure I have the best water quality because I'm pretty sure at one point I had uronema come in on some anthias. So, if I ordered from them I detailed my filtration and asked them for advice on if I should do a 50 or 100% water change or what I can do to protect future rivals from my display.

I was thinking as a fish supplier they would know how to best assure that the livestock is entering a safe environment. Well.... They latched onto the fact I had an algae turf scrubber and told me that turf scrubbers are extremely outdated export systems and that all I'm doing is introducing invasive species of algae into my display and it's a horrible form of filtration. . . .

It's the most efficient form of filtration I know of aside from the filter blocks that require ongoing cleaning to ensure they don't get bad bacteria growing on them. . .

The turf scrubber I know removes nitrates and phosphates from a scientific perspective and is relatively efficient at it if setup correctly. I made sure to spend money on a quality setup from Turbo Aquatics. It was not cheap, it was my single most expensive filtration device.

For a vendor to tell me it's crap? I need science not opinion. ;)
 

Indytraveler83

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[QUOTE="re


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

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


This is an interesting question, primarily because reefing is a fast evolving hobby. Much of the literature and method from years ago is sadly outdated (does anyone still rotate bleached coral skeletons as decor?).

I think reliability can be questionable if the answer comes from someone other than a trusted expert or a scientific article. So if I'm getting answers from another source than that, I look for people who have personal experience with the topic, and look for multiple people to confirm that answer.

For instance, if I'm asking a water chemistry question, I wait, I question and I ask for sources when people give answers. However, if Randy Holmes-Farley chimes in, I simply do what he says.

I think googling a question is valuable, but you have to trace the answers to a reliable source, or a collection of agreed experiences. So that's "research" to me. Either finding an expert (for this purpose I define this as someone whose knowledge I trust, either through publications or a pattern they have already demonstrated) or collecting enough data (for instance, 10 out of 11 sources indicated x fish isn't compatible with y fish) that I'm satisfied with the answer.
 

Salemsoul

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This a great topic! :) With as prevalent as the internet & social media has become I think people forget how to check sources and the reliability of the information they are consuming.
Is "Web Research" and "Research" the same .. the short answer is no (in my opinion) but they can be close. I guess research would be defined as scientific or PubMed Articles, peer reviewed journals or anecdotal data but from sources with very reliable & consistent history. On the internet many studies are available to read so you can do true research with google and well respected scientist/researchers/reefers do publish articles and data on social media. I think the issue is some are so quick to find the answer that best supports their theory in this hobby instead of spending the extra time to review other sources.

1. How can you be confident that you're getting good information? Does the author have first hand knowledge or are their sources quoted in their article & who is publishing the information you are reading. Has it been substantiated by others? Does the source have of a long standing history of providing accurate and well thought out information? Also anecdotal evidence is sometimes used as scientific fact when it is a single personal experience or is not able to be replicated.

2. How do you as a reefer define "research"?
Looking up data even if 50% is anecdotal and the other half is backed by published studies, is peer reviewed or by someone who is knowledgeable and well respected is all research. The more information you consume, the easier it is to identify what is reefing fact and what is still a theory in this hobby.
 

Rob.bucek

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Everything you read on the internet is true.

 

Squart

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There are a lot of information on the net but you need to decide what information is up to date and relavant to what you are looking for. Consider one person making a report about a subject 20 yrs ago is that information correct up to date and from relavant or do you consider information that has been peer reviewed to be the lastest information within the last 1 to 5 year a Good article from professionals you are looking for.
 

Ippyroy

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Seeing as how the hobby is progressing faster than anyone can write a book, 90% of my research is done by reading articles here on R2R, and Watching as many videos as I can. The other 10% is from reading a couple of magazines and some outdated books I found that still seem to be mostly current. Reefing is very similar to politics, I try to read as much as possible and take as much of that info butt possible and try to draw a conclusion that works for me and I can accept.
 

Dana Riddle

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First, we should define 'research.' There is primary research, where experiments are conducted, results analyzed and published. Then there is secondary research, such as an internet search. This might be Google Scholar for peer-reviewed literature, or search of forums for information that tends to be anecdotal in nature (and I'm not knocking anecdotes - the basis for many peer-reviewed works examines observations made by hobbyists. Early reports of blue light inducing coral coloration comes to mind.) Since many (likely most) hobbyists don't have the resources for primary research, the internet is a good option. But caveat emptor.
 

Cell

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The term "research" does not speak to the accuracy of said information nor does it define the source of said info.
 

CindyKz

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I don't research my reef tank as well as I'd like to. Like others, I prefer peer reviewed journals or well known authors. I have a difficult time finding pertinent peer reviewed articles and well known, successful authors are few.

Since I only have a couple of reef books, my go to is WWM but the information can be tough to sift through. I must use the wrong search terms in GoogleScholar and PubMed because I can never find the information I want - or if I do, the question was studied in commercially bred fish and probably doesn't apply to my tank.

I stay far from YouTube with the exception of some of the BRS series. To be honest, there are only a couple of people on R2R whose information I take under serious consideration, since I don't know anyone's background, credentials or experience.

If I can't find an answer on WWM or in Reefkeeping Magazine I'll most likely ask local reefers. At least I know them, their experience and their tanks.
 

ichthyogeek

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I think it depends on what you consider research.

In academia, research is typically primary, where you're devising experiments, figuring out what goes wrong, hypotheses, the whole scientific method. And you're also doing literary searches of published scientific material. Under this definition, a "web search" would not be considered research.

In the hobby, research seems more like literary searches, looking for what information is not only out there, but current and applicable to the situation. Rather unfortunately, the "experiment" (i.e. aquarium) that you're doing this literary search for is rarely going to be duplicable towards the high level protocols that science demands (i.e. were tanks A and B started at the same time? Do they use the same brand of X filtration? Do they have the same stocking capacity from the same source in the same location?). Therefore, a "web search" would be considered research.

If you're looking for information ("what to feed Species X", "Water parameters for Species X", "Tankmates for Species X"), and do it thoroughly by scrolling through dozens to hundreds of google search pages, forums, etc, I would consider it research in a literary search sense. You've put time into this one relatively esoteric topic to figure out proper protocols for an "experiment," relying on singular experiments done beforehand by others. An anecdote really is a single person's account of something that happened. But what happens when you have dozens to hundreds of anecdotes saying the same or similar thing?
 

Cell

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Generally means you're using peer reviewed scientific articles or other primary sources of information from known experts, not anecdotes from a forum.

Not necessarily. You can research lawnmowers, for instance. The term does not define the source of info. If you want it to be confined to peer reviewed articles published in scientific journals, then you are talking about Scientific Research. That is way more specific than the general term "research".
 

Cell

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Research cannot be right or wrong, it's simply the act of acquiring information, the conclusion one makes based upon the research is what can be right or wrong.
 

mitch91175

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The difference to me between "web search" and "research" is they both can get you where you need to be, but you need to use a little more "common-sense" when using web searches. Not all information sound.
 
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