Xavier- The Role of Research

Part of my research has been talking to different scientists in various fields who have expertise with different parts of my project. The other part of my research is more independent. I look for journal articles and videos related to the different technologies in my project. These two parts come together to form “research” which I define as information gathering of peer reviewed sources and/or credentialed experts in a specific field (relative to my project). One important fact that I have learned is that science works through the replication of data. This means that opinions don’t matter. What scientists look for are experiments that confirm a hypothesis. When several papers show similar findings, scientists can feel more confident that these findings are on the right track and valid. This is how science is different from social media and how we can show cause and effect in the physical world. The hardest part of research is designing valid experiments and then reading and analyzing which journal articles actually confirm previous data. Many new journals are now online and are not peer reviewed but look like traditional journals in every other way. We are not taught at school how to read these articles or how to determine if they are peer reviewed and can confirm a hypothesis. I had to learn this on my own by asking lots of questions at school in my science classes and talking to real scientists. This has been the hardest part.

               Research is essential to solving any problem. You cannot solve a problem without understanding the previous work that has been done on your problem or in your field.  Last week, I had the incredible opportunity of several zoom meetings with scientists who have experience in various fields of my project. They provided new insights for me to consider and help move my project forward. I received some great feedback about parts of my project that might not work in certain conditions, so I am considering other solutions. These conference calls helped me to gather information about my project that would not be available through journal articles.  These calls provide specific feedback relative to my project but my project also relies on researching well-understood technologies to enhance and connect ideas from different fields.