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March 11, 1988

Research: Biased Fox Guards Data Henhouse

Author Affiliations

Tarpon Springs (Fla) General Hospital

Tarpon Springs (Fla) General Hospital

JAMA. 1988;259(10):1500. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720100022028

To the Editor.  —The recent editorial by Dr Greer1 analyzes some of the problems in the practical application of research findings. She points out the effectiveness of informal communication and the distrust of "scientific" information.Before a research project is undertaken, the researcher has a motivation and bias. He expects certain possible conclusions. His expectation may come from a variety of experiences and readings of variable validity, but almost no research is undertaken without an a priori expectation.Perhaps we should reformulate our idea of double-blind studies.A researcher collects information of variable accuracy. He then reaches "conclusions." This is something like the fox guarding the henhouse. Should the developer of the question leading to the research be allowed to collect the information and draw the conclusions? What will be the information bias? What will be the conclusion bias?Should conclusions ever be recorded in a scientific work by