There’s basically two factions on gun control advocacy – the pro gun control and anti gun control advocates. I’m pretty sure anyone who watches TV or reads the news on the online and printed media or even those who listen to the radio might know what they stand for already so I wouldn’t expound on it that much. I’ll make this essay as precise, concise, simple yet articulate as possible. Have you ever noticed on how much both sides rely heavily on statistics? It’s not like it’s a bad thing, really but how can we be so sure of what these researches tell us anyway? And whose side am I or you or the person you know are we really on? It’s a matter of personal opinion but, with the goal to educate the public in mind, I want to help you form a strong opinion not because someone you know said so, but because of what you know. A strong and powerful opinion shall come from a very good source and basis.
Researches get this deterrence from the common folk. I get it. It’s boring, it’s wordy, it has too many technical terms and it is very long to read. Plus, there’s this maths and data that can get too complicated. Before I graduated my bachelor’s degree, I was subdued to four researches- two of which are my baccalaureate researches – and some term papers (I can’t exactly recall how many). Beforehand, I had yearly scientific researches back in my high school days. That wasn’t so bad but there’s honestly a lot of work and jargons involved and not to mention, there’s this research defense panelists that I think aims to squeeze off what’s left of my confidence, hopes and dreams during the presentations I had. I’m not going to sugarcoat or lay this down any other way but, it’s incredibly easy to manipulate data to get the results you want. There’s always this something called ‘research bias‘. I’m going to put it as “a point or a view you can manipulate within your research so the outcomes of it would be in favor to your side and thus would prove your point.” It can be your data, your methods, or whatever may be in your research, really as long as it supports whatever claim you wish to exert. It’s not exactly false but, if there’s some altercations or manipulation involved then it makes the study less valid and you’d really want a research that’s heavy on facts and not on bias. This has happened, is happening and no doubt will happen most notably on corporate research. That’s why they seek independent study as to avoid research bias. That’s also why studies were re-tested again to verify if the results were still applicable, valid or unbiased – maybe even all of those.
Going back to my main point from my introductory paragraph, my goal to tell you is what you can do and strongly should do before forming an opinion. For example, some article told you that Research A is strongly advocating stricter gun control measures because of the data and study they have presented that concludes a call for stricter, stronger laws for gun control. However, Research B presents this data that there’s too much gun control policies and that there already is no need for stricter measures. So, which really is which? I think this is where you should put some elbow grease onto some research yourself. How valid or reliable actually is the research? Who made the research? How did they make the research and finally, before anyone spoonfeeds you anything: what exactly is the research? Particularly on online articles published from major mainstream media websites, even on small-time alternative news site, it is sound and common practice that you always put a source on your references, especially on researches. I think it is best to take a look at that research and see if it truly makes sense. Don’t worry about the technical terms, really! In the age of the internet, information is just one click away. Besides, there’s this part of the research called the ‘abstract‘. On studies published online, you might be able to see that first. That’s basically the summary of the research. Although it’s kind of sufficient because you get to know what the research is all about but it’s still basically the sleeve of the research and you know what they say – don’t judge a book by its cover. What would really help is, I think, the most important part of the research called Data and Results, or essentially the fourth chapter of a research. That’s where you can find the results and the interpretation of data. Afterwards, you can look at the fifth chapter of the research or the Conclusion, which includes both the findings of the study and recommendations of the researcher. In my experience, that’s where you reveal everything you’ve studied for months sometimes even for years and is pretty much the highlight of a research. In most of my researches, those are the parts that I’ve put the most effort into and I guess it would be likely for other researchers as well. But, if you really want to know the research, it would be nice if you can read all of the papers presented.
I strongly urge you to look upon the data before forming opinions and not just on gun control but other issues in general. What the media, figureheads and influential people tell us is not enough and shouldn’t be regarded as the truth. In fact, let us treat Truth as authority and not otherwise. I think we should be able to form our opinions and perspectives on things because we choose to and not because someone else told us what to think or how to think. We need to think objectively and I think that finding out where a statement or something regarded as a fact came from. Doesn’t matter which side you are on, as long as you know that which side you’re in is the most reasonable to you or something you can strongly identify in.