If you want to start a rumor, conduct a research study. It sounds more expensive than starting a rumor, but it’s not; research studies show that you only need a strong opinion and an internet connection.
Research studies have shown that coffee is both good and bad for you, that it both is and isn’t worth getting a college education, that Britain is both better and worse off out of Europe. So it’s clear enough that you can ‘show’ anything you like if you study something by doing a bit of research.
Research studies always ‘show’ stuff. They don’t prove, demonstrate or explain; they ‘show’. That puts the responsibility for interpretation onto you, and isolates the researchers from any conclusive responsibility. See for yourself, they implicitly say.
Naturally, showing always involves the research and study parts, too. Study alone isn’t strong enough to get your rumor established. Preschoolers study stuff, and studies show they know nothing. So you must add ‘research’, which in itself would sound far too academic but when combined with ‘studies’ creates a perfect blend of abstract investigation and the hands-on accumulation of facts. Then you have something to show, and your rumor is off and running.
‘Research’ is a fluid term which, depending on the study, can mean anything from a quick google to the combined efforts of a whole host of PhDs. And for researchers it does look good on your resume if you’ve been cited in studies — the more the better — even if they are the result of your own research.
Of course, research studies don’t necessarily only show stuff. They can also question stuff. These days, questioning accepted facts has become widespread, and questioners often cite their own research studies by way of evidence. In fact, if you want to get your research in the public eye, discussed in break-rooms across the country, on PBS and on ‘Good Morning America’, then it’s often a good idea to question what some other research study has shown. Studies show that a good proportion of research studies question their own results.
For example, research studies show that bacon sandwiches may be good for you. Researchers have studied causes of death since the bacon sandwich was invented, and found little evidence that bacon sandwiches were involved in anything but a small proportion of deaths. This shows that among those that lived longer or didn’t die of bacon sandwiches, bacon sandwiches may have been a key longevity factor. A further research study questioned whether it was the bacon, the bread, or the combination of the two that showed potentially increased longevity. One study questioned the longevity. Researchers say this shows that further research may be required.
There’s almost nothing you can’t show or question with enough researching and studying. Andthe more outlandish the proposition you start off researching and studying, the better. So pick something that’ll get your study noticed. Somewhere, someplace, you know there is a team of researchers studying tobacco and about to show that smoking is, by certain measures, beneficial to overall health.
And just as the shock sinks in, another group of researchers will conduct a study that questions that result and suggests that the benefits are only shown among those that also consume large amounts of refined sugar.