One of the most difficult (and in certain times, the most difficult) aspects of research is the need to draw conclusions from results. Sometimes the difficulty lies in the “Monday Morning Quarterback” assessment: we asked the wrong question. Other times, the results are counterintuitive, and speak to the opposite spectrum of accepted theory and practice.
Then there are simply human errors of perception and judgment, notably relating to results interpretation and the expectation of research outcomes. Sometimes we have lofty, and even unrealistic, expectations of our research. What we often do not realize is that, when unmet, this in-and-of-itself is a spectacular outcome.
All this noted, let’s explore four interesting paradoxes of research.