“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

Cell

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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.

Primary means you did it yourself. Secondary means you read someone else's work.
 

Biglew11

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i like real paper books to read sometimes, that being said the web is very convenient, so i try to read information on the internet written by trusted authors, researchers, scientist. if information is from an unknown source i try to compare as many sources i can find and make a decision from that taking it all with a grain of salt
 

Doglips56

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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"?

I think the internet has a place in research but I also rely on articles in Coral magazine and other pieces of scholarly work. I think my most trusted sources though, are the handful of reefers in my local club who really know what they are doing and their success is the proof of it. Things can change so fast that books become obsolete or things that pull up on the internet are a decade or older and the science has advanced.
 

[email protected]

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I usually look at at least three sources from websites, and if I have the time and I'm still not sure, I look at people's journals and the effects of a choice like the one I'm curious about. If it works out well, I generally am more confident. But... sometimes I am stubborn and don't listen. Eventually I learn.
 

[email protected]

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i like real paper books to read sometimes, that being said the web is very convenient, so i try to read information on the internet written by trusted authors, researchers, scientist. if information is from an unknown source i try to compare as many sources i can find and make a decision from that taking it all with a grain of salt
That is what I like to do.
 

RJKain-777

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Research is from exports and scientists that do years of tests and studying. There results give you a guideline on what you want to achieve in your tank as levels and such go.
Web research, is looking at what other reefers have has success doing
 

LRT

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I use web search alot which leads me research and vice versa. Theres usually an answer if you ask google the right questions in searching for answers.
Funny thing is most of the time it usually always leads to a thread here somewhere.

I'll be honest. Especially when it comes to chemistry it doesnt matter how much I research or search I swear I need someone to take me by the hand like a child and spell it all out for me. Just don't get it. Lol
 

Calm Blue Ocean

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Yet another big challenge in this hobby! The major thing that I've run into in doing "websearch", aside from the million different opinions with no qualifications, is outdated information. There are a surprising number of things where approaches have changed, even within the last few years so when your search results are pulling info from 10 years ago you can find some really confusing and contradicting stuff! Of course you can even find that in a single thread posted yesterday. It takes some time to find trustworthy sources. A single Google search is likely not going to produce the results you need.
 

spschiebel

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I would say "Yes", but the caveat is that I would consider myself a general hobbyist. I think that for the general hobbyist who is only trying to keep a stable reef and advance their own knowledge of the hobby without trying to advance the hobby itself a thorough web search is sufficient. One has to do due diligence of course, "trust but verify" and all.

Granted, I am speaking from a strong position of inexperience in not actually having had a reef...yet. I have been planning a reef and doing all the research for a reef on and off over the last 10years. I've bought one book on the subject and done countless hours of research on forums, some of which no longer exist. I've specced out several "virtual" systems and thought through many different disaster scenarios all with the hopes that one day soon I will be able to put it all together into a great system. Over 99% of the information I needed to do this can be found on forums, YouTube, manufacturer websites, and hobbyist blogs.

I think the vast majority of hobbyists fall into the category of wanting to be able to replicate the successes and avoiding the failures of others. However, for those few others, the ones we all learn from, who are trying to advance the knowledge of the hobby, those will rightfully answer "No" to this question. I salute them for their efforts and humbly thank them for their generosity in sharing that knowledge freely.
 

Bfoot

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Some of the most knowledgeable people in the hobby post great information on the internet. Unfortunately though, keyboards just sit there and let anybody type and post anything, good information or not. We have to do our best to vet the information we see on the web, and even if it’s good, it may not be appropriate for our individual situation.
 

Tony Thompson

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Hi @revhtree , first off, thanks for the acknowledgement for using one of my photos, appreciated. I must say that is just one shelf, I have another 4 shelves. :)

My answer to your question is “YES” web search is a form of research. So therefore both are the the same. The quality of either can only be defined on an individual basis.

Valid interpretation , combined with a healthy amount of scepticism and cross reference, are handy tools to obtaining more valued information. In other words, question everything, discount nothing. Then using the tools mentioned above, place a value on the information one has gathered.

Never forget though, for the majority, this is a hobby not a science project. Most don't have the time, access or patience required to do detailed research. They just want to keep these fascinating animals as pets. My advice to those who fall into this category, is find a good book that gives a broad explanation on the basics of the subject at hand and a good LFS to cover more specifics. Qualified and validated information can also be obtained from this forum.

A good LFS will have a comprehensive understanding of the animals they sell.
An obvious show of care and responsibility for the animals they stock.
Patience to discuss your options (even if this means coming back when they are less busy).

In my opinion it is also very important that the LFS asks 'YOU' questions. To best meet your requirement they must first have knowledge of your current situation.

The subject of research is very close to my heart so I will expand a little for those of you who have the time.

I have been an aquarist for well over 40 years, and been actively interested in aquatic life for almost 50 years, Temperate, Freshwater, Saltwater, Planted, Reef and Amphibious.

The driving force for my involvement in the hobby has always been, to gain an understanding of what I observe when examining these amazing animals and there alien environment and to enjoy that connection with nature in the comfort of my home

Since a small child living in the North Riding of Yorkshire, close to the sea, lakes, rivers and ponds I would often, (against better judgement), attempt to keep these animals in my home so I could more closely observe them. I would 'research' the animals biology, environment and behaviour by borrowing books from my local library or purchasing a particular publication on Birthdays or Christmas. Also joining clubs and visiting my LFS. Later in life as I gained access to University tools such as research gate. I started to delve deeper into my research.

in my opinion, quality research and understanding of the basic life needs of an animal coupled with adaption of that knowledge to an environment in which is more practical for domestic reasons. Is invaluable in achieving relative success.

When carrying out research. Many scientific papers in the area of Marine Biology / Zoology, are very much geared towards the natural environment. Therefore it is very important that you recognise the limitation in the data and calculate how this applies to a closed system.

Research can also sometimes have a negative effect.

Once the aquarium reaches some relative equilibrium. It is important to try not to upset that balance. Maintaining stable lighting, temperature and chemical composition are the most easily achievable. Effective research at the beginning is a practical way to determine these specifications. Get the basics right at the beginning and try to keep them stable.

The temptation to constantly change to the latest lighting or chemical dosing routine as proposed by a manufacturer or sponsored reefer is like playing Russian roulette. Even with the best intentions, nature can take a completely different course.

As a hobbyist and Reef Shop owner myself, I process thousands of animals, it is my professional duty and pleasure, to carry out research to better understand the needs of the specific animals and the specifications of the products I sell.

In conclusion, with regards research, my advice would be to never accept bold, short statements without questions, especially ones that don't` seem to make sense. Ask why. If the provider can not explain a little more detail, then look further afield.

On a side note, even with the best research. Quality of stock is vital. If practical, quarantine your animals. Like I said previously I deal with thousands of animals a year. I am familiar with the trade. If you are dubious about the use of therapeutic or prophylactic treatment, then In my experience, the animals you purchase have almost certainly already gone through some sort of chemical treatment. The risk is many problems are often masked by non therapeutic levels of medication before you get to purchase them. Disease and parasites are common in the trade. Don't take the risk, take precautions.

I always class myself as a novice aquarist as I learn something new every week.

Best wishes from across the pond, stay safe.
 

TJDSEKULA

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I feel like it could be but isn't necessarily, selected not sure.

It depends on the person and situation. If it's a common situation, like what sg is good for a reef then a quick web research is fine you'll likely get correct information easily as the majority is a short and sweet number that will be just about the same regardless of site, sure I'll count that. If your looking for very specific information (how to breed a sea butterfly for example) you will likey need to search much more in depth and probably find some differing opinions then need to search to see how creditable the source and search articles with some of those opinions again looking for credentials etc. To me the part where you auctually check your source look into credentials and differing opinions is where it becomes research vs just a quick web search in these type of situations. Many of these circumstances I find myself reading through articles, research papers, and studies that were conducted by people who have spent months to years dealing in a specific topic.
This isn't where you "research" to find the specific answer you want, because 1 of 1000 people said yes while 999 said no so you only searched for that one.
 

Mark Novack

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I voted no but that's in a literal scientific sense. There is academic research and then scientific research. Academic research is reading about things and making assumptions based upon the authenticity of the sourses (web search). Scientific research is experimentation and seeing the results. The false moon landing conspiracy is academic research. Going there and finding the landers is scientific research. I use that example only to suggest that academic researchers need to distinguish between good and bad information and know from where the information comes.
Mark
 

NanoReefLovers

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I want to throw a monkey wrench or two into the mix.

1. There is no “one” true way to do a reef aquarium. Something that works for one person will fail for another. They are both, viable and non-viable, at the same time.

2. Just because a way works does NOT mean it is the best long term solution for the aquarium. I can live off junk food for a long time but that won’t give me the best quality of life. People smoke for decades before it catches up but the effects can also be immediate and lingering. That is not to say people can’t smoke and live a long life.

this hobby is ever evolving and advancing. Just because something new comes along does not mean we need to jump on board. Consequently, just because something has been around “forever” in this hobby does not mean it is the best or that it should not be replaced by something better.

Enjoy the hobby and remember the most expensive part of this hobby is impatience.
 

Paul B

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I think you should find someone who has a tank you like that has been running for many years and take ideas from them that seem plausible. I feel to many people take advice from a Noob who has only a few years of experience and a few years in this hobby doesn't mean much as most fish and corals can live almost that long with almost no care.
Many people have a beautiful tank loaded with corals but if you look close, those corals are frags still on their cement base. If you throw enough money at most hobbies, they will look great but you need time to know if the system is really working.
When I was in Viet Nam I had a large albino catfish. It died a week before I came home. It was in maybe 2" of water and I am sure no one fed it more than three times in that year. But it almost made it to see me walk in the house. :(
 

brandon429

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Heres a direct example of web posts changing the rules.


that cycling video is accepted as the current best info for reefing by most, after all thats a macna talk video. Any research deemed pertinent involving reef cycles would include adhering to those rules above.

in the video its stated that reef tank water is pretty much devoid of filter bacteria in suspension.


but on this thread, a gentleman connects a years-old reef to a new one sitting next to it, via 1 pvc in and out, and the new tank has all dry sand all dry rock.

no extra feed was added. no ammonium chloride, ONLY water exchange cycled the new reef in 25 days. the connection was broken, new tank passes cycling assessment on its own/ how did the same rate of feed input fuel a doubling of filter biomass, if the current rules for reef cycling are true?


so, does reef water have nitrifiers?

formal research says no. Informal research cycles a reef *like online cycling charts show / 30 days by exposing only to reef water. I value web posts as the best reef info available but they have to be replicated many times over to be validated. At least we have a start, one example on file of contact time cycling which never stalls, fails, or misses a deadline. Right before us, an all dry reef was cycled without buying anything to feed or inoculate it from a bottle.

along the same lines of no nitrifiers/lots of nitrifiers in water the same can be said of nitrite. If at any time someone wants to see us not factoring nitrite in a reef cycle, and that cycle completing just fine, I literally have one hundred threads handy.

reef tank cycles don’t stall, says anecdote with many thread proofs. This is upsetting to the estab. reef2reef allows free exploration of the rules, thankfully.
 
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