Be Klever when “doing your own research”
To come to trustworthy conclusions, you need to know your sources well. It’s hard, but not impossible.
Disclaimer: this article is opinion-based. The information provided is based on individual experience and not scientific research.
When I was in college one of the subjects that I hated the most was “Scientific Methodology”.
Not only me, but almost everyone hated it.
Well, we were in a human science course. Typically, you see that students in that field don't correlate scientific research with their future careers. College students tend to make the mistake of thinking science methodology only applies to scientific subjects.
For those who are not familiar with this, I’ll explain: in this subject, we have to learn not only how to build a scientific research but how to structure it on paper. We learn different types of methodologies and structures in order to develop good scientific information throughout our course.
The problem is:
We don’t have an incentive at school to do research and for that we felt no attraction in doing it.
We are eager to learn specific subjects of what we enrolled to do, so we usually dismiss the importance of Science Methodology - and since it is given in the beginning of our graduation, when we are 19, 18 (or in my case, even 17 years old) we get “bored” and just go to that class to fulfill a requirement.
I’m not sure if this happens in the same way in other countries, but that was my experience where I live.
People get too lazy when they have to research. They don’t like it because it takes time, you have to be extremely thorough, and it has a lot of steps and levels (including, obviously, researching) to build one.
So, with that being said, I ask you:
Do these people have the capacity to do research for themselves?
I’ll tell you, in my opinion: no.
I'm referring to the reality I encountered in college. Imagine now the plight of non-graduated individuals who never even entered the academic world.
(And in case you tell me that it’s not only in Academia that we learn scientific methodologies, I have to “agree to disagree”. I don’t see any other place to learn it other than the place where all major studies are born from).
Like I said previously, this is my opinion. Not a scientific fact. If you want them, you should look carefully at specialists’ works on this.
The problem is that, on the internet, people don’t disclaim it like I just did. They act like they do know what they are talking about with much certainty as the sky is blue; like they did a lifetime research to get to that conclusion.
That’s why, from my experience: you have to be Klever to do your own research.
Biased or unbiased?
When I went to college to study journalism, one of the main lessons my professor taught me was:
“Double check your sources and be careful with information you take from Google”.
Actually, for some contents, they completely discouraged Google use and said to go straight to the source. It’s more reliable and less risky.
I’m not even going to talk about source picking and their reliability because this is a whole new topic and we learn that in Journalism school.
But I can tell you that even selecting the source is a thorough job. You have to know who you’re talking to, what they do, if they are trusted in the community and so on.
So, here we are, in the XXI century and we have research to do.
And the first go-to place (if you live on this earth, at least) is commonly Google.
I’m not going to say that this is the biggest problem, because it’s not. It’s only one of them.
We all know by now that Google, as many internet-based pages, is constantly collecting our data through their system, right?
And we also know that with “smart” robots, Google can suggest topics, pages and contents that resonate with what you previously looked for, yes?
So, what would we think that our research made on Google was supposed to be trustworthy?
But, like I said, it’s not only Google.
In the polarized world that we are living in, where people have opinions on everything, even if you try to get information from your friends and/or other close professionals, you’d have to check their ideological background to see if they are making an unbiased point of view or not.
Yes, it is that hard to dig up information.
And imagine my surprise when I started to read this “DYOR” thing in the crypto universe.
I was quite shocked actually, because I really knew that this was a bit dangerous. Is part of my profession to identify wolves in sheep’s clothing and to spot a con when I see one.
But those people - well, some of them - were not.
To remember another great lesson that I learned in my classes: always interview specialists like scientists and long time researchers.
They dedicate their lives to know one subject, they spend years trying to find an answer for something and even better: they have scientific methodology as their favorite topic (no, that’s not true but at least they have to learn how to love it. It’s their job).
So even if you take information from two different perspectives (actually, that’s the ideal), your work will be rich and reliable for people to come up with their own conclusions based on true and trustable information.
And yes, I know that media outlets have an agenda sometimes, and even a political position.
But, you have to learn how to differentiate them, what’s their usual take on things, and when they are pushing something.
Scientists and specialists in focus
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, “DYOR” has never seen more popularity.
People are arguing about subjects like vaccines based on this behaviour.
However, we must take caution with that.
In an interview granted to CNN, Renne DiResta, research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, said that “Science is a consensus building process," DiResta said. "Not something where we know the facts immediately, the moment that someone wants to be Googling for them."
And what is a consensus building process?
Much like our beloved security mechanism in the blockchain, the consensus algorithm, this means that a considerable amount of specialized people have to agree with the majority of the content researched.
Each of them agree or disagree based on their own processes.
Coming to the field of cryptocurrency, you have to be aware of good specialists that have background knowledge of subjects like finances, investments and, of course, blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Actually, the ones I most trust are the ones with a big disclaimer on top: “This does not represent financial advice”. If they are honest enough to say that, maybe they might be honest to state other arguments.
What I need to say is: don’t underestimate science and prefer to listen to a “crypto-bro”. Have a sharp mind! You are Klever, after all!
Of course I’m not saying that we should not do research in Google anymore or “don’t research at all, just listen to specialists” - no, that’s not what I’m saying.
What I’m trying to say is that when you do that, be aware of who is talking.
Research that source as well. It might be a never ending cycle but it is the least that we can do in this crazy land called the internet.
It’s a risk
When some authors talk about DYOR, they usually tell you what to look for in a project, and remind you that some information is crucial: what problem does this project intend to solve? What’s the plan security-wise? And again, who is behind all that?
But the issue for me is that even knowing all of this, you could still be in the hands of a problematic project.
That’s why my suggestions (not advice) could mean nothing, specially because many of the people that get into cryptocurrencies now don’t even know who those guys are, if their resume is true, and what the hell is “consensus algorithm”?
See the problem?
That’s why you have to listen to everyone (even the ones you don’t agree with), balance sources and, please, listen to specialists and scientists. They know how to do research properly and they love scientific methodology! (Fiction).
Stay informed and be Klever!