Friday, August 16, 2013

Painfully obvious research results - data link roundup (week of August 16, 2013)

The week's top data analysis links...
This week's theme: The Duh Files.

Did we really need a study to "know" this?


Culling statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth, researchers found that the "withdrawal" or "pull-out" method of birth control is surprisingly common. 31 percent of surveyed women used withdrawal as a form of birth control at least once.

But (not surprisingly) the method is terribly ineffective. Unintended pregnancy rates were 21 percent among those who used the withdrawal method.

In an interview published by the National Institutes of Health, study author Dr. Annie Dude notes:
"Our study showed that use of withdrawal for contraception is very common, but it doesn't work as well as other methods"
The full study will be published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.


New analysis published in the Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology shows that when running in heels, energy expenditure increases with heel height... at least for the dozen women who participated in the study.

No word on the effects of heel high on the risk of breaking an ankle...


And other entries into the "painfully obvious results of research studies" category:

Now don't get me wrong, I'd much rather see silly, and seemingly painfully obvious correlations than paid-for-by-the-producer clinical trials that later are proven to be flawed, or research that shows a strong correlation and jumps to the conclusion that correlation means causation (when, in fact, confounding factors are to blame).

And we all know that most of these studies include findings that are deeper, more complex, and more useful than the titles imply.

For example, the University of Georgia's findings that abstinence only education does not work at reducing teen sexual behavior or teen pregnancy seems obvious. Well... it seems obvious to most of us, but some public policy decisions would benefit from wider distribution of the the evidence.

Then again, sometimes it's just fun to wonder what on earth the researcher was thinking (and how on earth the project got funded).

And really, did we need the BMJ to publish an article to know that sword swallowing is a dangerous profession???

No comments:

Post a Comment

your insights?