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Insight & Intelligence™ : Mar 7, 2014

INFOGRAPHIC: The Scientific Method, Unplugged

A pseudoscientific portrait of how science is (or isn't) done in today's labs.
  • Eammon Conaghan
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  • Barry Dardon
  • ,
  • Ken Li

Chempetitive infographic

Time waits for no man. But experiments will.

They’ll wait until after tea:

“The experiment was left for the precise time that it took for us to get a cup of tea #overlyhonestmethods #tealove”

They’ll wait for the boss to come back:

“Experiments were repeated only once because our PI was away at a conference & quite frankly NO work got done that week #overlyhonestmethods”

Or they might…just…wait…forever:

“We developed these unrealistic simulations because we couldn’t be bothered going out in the field for more sampling. #overlyhonestmethods"

The twitter hashtag #overlyhonestmethods has gone viral and spread to mainstream media because it offers a candid look at how scientists do (or don’t do) science everyday—one that doesn’t fit into the stereotype that every experiment is ruled by reason and logic alone.

#overlyhonestmethods has been used in more than 7,300 tweets since @drleigh’s first inspired tweet on January 6, 2013: “We did experiment 2 because we didn't know what … to make of experiment 1 #overlyhonestmethods.”

Because the people at Chempetitive Group “couldn’t be bothered” poring through 7,300 tweets, they analyzed @beckieport’s collection of 75 #overlyhonestmethod tweets on her Storify account. By analyzing their content, they made a striking conclusion. And here it is: scientists are human! They’re creatures of comfort who overcome some of their many struggles like many of us do—by blaming something or someone else. They also can recognize and laugh at those traits.