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Instead of Tearing Your Hair Out

There are two reasons why an experiment may not be working, Dr. Isis tells one of her readers who wrote in. First, she says is that you're just not doing it right and for that, she suggests reaching out to someone who has done something similar. "You've simply got to find the person who can help you do what you need," she says. The second reason is that your methods are fine — you just aren't getting the expected results. To determine that your results are reliable she says you must consider if you've done the proper controls and determine of someone else can reproduce your results. "At the end of the day when I could say "yes" to both questions, I had to conclude that my results were reliable, Isis writes."In the end, the results opened up a much more interesting door than I would have expected."

In the comment section of Dr. Isis's blog, Comrade PhysioProf adds "a third — and potentially most important — possibility, which is that what one is trying to do just ain't gonna work no matter what (i.e., yield reliable interpretable results), for reasons that will never become apparent."