What we know, what we don’t
Hypotheses have to be based on the real world. But what if the reported knowledge of the real world is itself wrong? Recent studies have suggested that a substantial fraction, maybe a majority, of the biomedical literature is at best flawed, at worst completely wrong. This means that scientists trying to make sense of the literature need to have a deep understanding of the subject, must look at the whole literature and not just a few selected papers for tests of a hypothesis, and if they build a hypothesis on a small number of outlier results, they must realise how weak its foundations may be.
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