Extensive scientific research has proved that life is supported by biomolecules derived from the food human beings take. Accordingly, the food industry thrives on providing consumer foods which are supposed to enhance health and prevent certain diseases associated with a poor diet. This situation has resulted in various dietary fads, with food companies designing diets which are marketed as having the ability to prevent certain health concerns. While some of these dietary fads have lived up to their promises, some have failed. This paper critiques a study which reported that consuming an oat bran diet did not lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Reaction to the report included the collapse of the then multi-million oat bran industry, underscoring the potential implications of research findings.
The Research Findings
Moreover, the study was conducted on 20 healthy individuals. This study sample is not reliably representative of the entire population. The researchers could have used a bigger random sample (John, 2005, p. 124), for example one thousand participants The study subjects should have included representatives from all demographic segments. The small sample of subjects used in the study makes the conclusions unreliable (John, 2005, p. 124). It is also noteworthy that the research was conducted over a six-week period. This period may have been too short to allow any notable fluctuations in the levels of blood cholesterol. Furthermore, based on the distribution of cholesterol levels in the group, it is possible that the actual levels of the blood cholesterol among the study participants could have fluctuated without the researcher being able to detect the changes.
Saint Leo’s Core Values and the Topic
Saint Leo’s core value of respect emphasizes the need to revere other people’s talents, dignity and the ideas they share (SLU, 2013). To this end, exchange of ideas leads to enlightenment and unity. Accordingly, by reporting study findings without conducting a comprehensive research, the investigators may have failed to respect the people responsible for creating the oat bran diet. This paper highlights some of the discrepancies in the study report, which is in line with the principle of ‘free exchange of ideas.
Similarly, the researchers failed to utilize the resources at their disposal to get a representative study sample and perform the observations over a longer period to allow any significant fluctuations in the blood cholesterol levels, so that the findings could be generalized. Saint Leo’s core value of ‘responsible stewardship’ encourages people to utilize the available resources responsibly to fulfill specific goals (SLU, 2013). It may be argued that the researchers were not sufficiently responsible in conducting the inconclusive study and publishing the findings, knowing well the potential implications.
Reading this paper, it is evident that research findings can have far reaching implications on the people and the business community. As such, it is imperative that researchers conduct comprehensive studies (with appropriate study samples which are representative of the entire population). It is also evident that publishers and reviewers should consider the credibility of research findings before publishing them. All in all, while research findings can be informative, they can be equally misleading if the findings are not credible.
John, P.A. (2005). Why Most Published Research Findings are False. PLOS Medicine, 2(8): 124
Saint Leo University. (2013). Core Values at Saint Leo University. Retrieved 31 March, 2013