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How Many Licks?

IANS CH 9 & 10

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? A-one, a-two, a-three...crunch ...The world may never know.

I thought of this commercial while reading chapter 9 of IANS. Aside from making me feel somewhat nostalgic and slightly old, I think it also correlates perfectly with the message of Ch. 9. In this chapter the authors stress the method of peer-reviewing research in order to critically validate (or invalidate) a researcher's conclusive claim. However, while this method does offer an extended amount of credibility to the research reviewed and approved, it does not, according to the authors of IANS, "exempt research from criticism." The following quote puts peer-reviewing in the proper perspective:

Nevertheless, for all of its flaws, what Churchill said of democracy can also be said applied to peer review: it is the worst system for judging research, except for all of the other alternatives that have ever been tried. (IANS161)

With this quote in mind, we as reporters, and students for that matter, should respect peer-reviewed articles as credible sources of information; however, we also need to remember that we still need to use our own brains to evaluate what we are reading. Instead of simply agreeing with what has already been said, simply because it was said by a smart person, we need to personally analyze the what has been said and base our conclusions jointly on what has already been said and what we have to say. Even geniuses are human and all humans make mistakes. It's up to us to avoid being swindled by these mistakes. As reporters and students, we need to avoid making mistakes based on someone else's mistake. Lord knows, we already make enogh on our own.

Comments (2)

Maria Pezzuti:

Ellen, i totally picked the same quote. I absolutely think that peer reviews should be used as credible sources, however no one can use only the other mans work. You must always remember that peer reviews just give you more options.

Jeremy Barrick:

The world may never know, you are right. Churchill said it best, you cannot have too many fingers in the cookie jar at one time, you'll get stuck. Like the quote.


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