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Showing posts from February, 2014

Testing Forays

Do you think that a significant part of testing is asking questions? I bet you have lots of questions, don't you? But have you ever been frustrated by a lack of answers? What do you do about it? Could you answer the questions yourself? How do you think that might help? When I have questions that require a response from others, I often try to provide a selection of answers too. For me, this helps to think through what I might do next - perhaps I can discover the actual answer by experimenting to see which of the answers is likely, or maybe an answer prompts another question, a more interesting question, one which requires investigation itself. If I still go ahead and pose the question, having some potential answers alongside it shows that I've thought about the issue and gives the answerer some context. Also, in my experience, people are often more able to refute an assertion than generate an answer from cold, so my answers spur their thoughts too. (And by the way, don'


I took the National Institutes of Health 's course Protecting Human Research Participants  this week. It's aimed at people setting up experiments involving human subjects and covers areas such as risk (including identification, minimisation, compared to benefits - personal and communal), recruitment (including coercion, balance), rights of the participants (including consent, welfare, vulnerable groups) and statutes (including international research, differences between definitions in different US bodies). In a section on the design of a clinical trial (where interventions - such as drugs - are being compared for efficacy in treating some illness in humans), the term equipoise was introduced. The definition given is: Substantial scientific uncertainty about which treatments will benefit subjects most, or a lack of consensus in the field that one intervention is superior to another. and the course notes say: A state of equipoise is required for conducting research that