There’s no one considered more of an expert in their field of study than a researcher. The importance of error-free research is crucial in many studies, particularly when healthcare is involved. But researchers are only human, and mistakes happen, no matter how careful a person is.
In the research process, errors can be costly to the resources involved, and they can be dangerous to the outcome entirely if the wrong results are obtained. It’s impossible to be 100% certain there is no error, but there are mistakes that are made that could have been avoided entirely. These all-too-common errors that hamper research are those you can stay away from now that you know about them!
The Consequences of Research Mistakes
We’re taught early to learn from our mistakes, but that’s not something you want to do when you’re a researcher. Costly mistakes can impact thousands of people and huge amounts of money. But the reality is that mistakes happen, especially when scholars are younger and just starting out in their field.
That’s why it’s important for researchers to be monitored as they are learning. Small errors can be caught early before they become catastrophic to the project. When this happens, other people’s safety can be in the line of fire. In addition, the reputation of the experts over the new researchers is questioned and the reputations of everyone, including the institution, are at stake.
Avoid These Common Errors
When you’re designing a research project, you need to give yourself enough time to do everything so you’re not rushing through any step. An organizational strategy like a Gantt chart helps ensure you’ve covered everything that will come up along the timeline.
Once you have your goal and methodology, you can begin working! Since you’re already organized, you’re less likely to make mistakes. However, along the way, make sure you avoid these common errors, too:
● Mistakes with population surveys that happen when you aren’t sure who your potential target market is. It’s important to be clear about who will be impacted by your research and include them in your survey.
● Errors in pool sampling, which is especially common when large numbers of surveyors respond. This is difficult to avoid when you are randomly choosing the subpopulation from your sample frame, but you can avoid sampling errors by having other researchers review your sample to ensure you’re not using homogenous information.
● Sampling errors that lead to selection mistakes when you use non-probability methods that include bias. This can happen when people who don’t fit the target pool are used as participants in the study. Some researchers think it’s more important to have bigger numbers rather than strategic respondent choice. Instead of opening the initial survey up to a more generic population, you should change your method to a second or third mode.
● Errors in measurement in which the researcher doesn’t receive the information they intended to get by the method in which the data was populated. To prevent this, always double and triple check the information you received to ensure it was accurate and in line with the parameters you had in place for your experiment.
Some of these errors are unavoidable, but others can be circumvented with careful, diligent analysis and observation. Before you begin a research project, set up your timeline thoroughly, and attempt to account for as many areas where mistakes could crop up as possible.