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JAMA 100 Years Ago
November 26, 2008


JAMA. 2008;300(20):2435. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.639

“Research signifies effort directed toward the discovery of laws and principles through the systematic collection of new and better correlations of existing data. It means the utilization of hitherto latent or wasted energy. The aims of research are not culture, not miscellaneous information, not a mode of leisurely meditation on the origin of things, but mainly utility and service to mankind.”

These statements by Theobald Smith, while general, apply especially to research in the field of medicine. Research is too often considered as peculiarly difficult, requiring unusual and special qualifications and only to be indulged in by a certain few whose sole ambition is to gain fame by making some important discovery. This is by no means true. The methods are straightforward, natural, simple, common-sense methods, but complete, thorough, orderly and precise. Research is work in which absolute honesty is demanded on every hand, for lacking this its very purpose is defeated.