Who funded the study?

Vested interests can distort research in different ways, from directly setting up research questions that are biased towards a particular outcome, to selecting only certain results for publication, to the more subtle influences on what conclusions to emphasise. 

So it is reasonable to ‘follow the money’ and know who’s funded the research that you’re looking at. In scientific journals academics should always disclose their ‘interests’. 

But vested interests aren’t really much of a guide to what, ultimately, we should believe. The best research in the world could be conducted by the least popular or most vested organisation, and vice versa: people with no apparent bias can get things terribly wrong.

Tags: evidence

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