Caveats & Conclusions

It’s hard to be both correct and useful.

For most of the topics I write about, I can be correct by saying that it’s hard to control for so many different factors and so basically everything is inconclusive.

I can be useful by telling you something you don’t know.

That’s why in most articles I’ll try to provide a concrete answer without too many caveats. I’ll make it clear when there really is no evidence for something, but a large majority of the studies I cover have significant limitations, especially when applied to the real world.

To my best knowledge, I rank evidence in the following order: systematic reviews, highly-cited papers, less-cited papers/forums, newspaper articles. I primarily use the first two in my research, which should give us a pretty good view of the overall field.

I welcome any challenge to my methodologies or any statement, and am happy to change my opinions if I’m wrong about anything, or clarify any information that may confuse readers.

What is About to Learn?

Let’s say you have a blog about productivity. If you have a story you want to publish, (e.g. “Do this one hack to memorize 10x more!”) there’s probably going to be a study to back up your findings through pure chance or publication bias. Nowadays, the internet is flooded with ‘study tips’ like this, so I’ve decided to make the most of my institutional journal access to give you a bit more perspective.

If we read as many papers on a topic as possible - especially systematic reviews - we can decrease the chance that we’re wrong about something. That means what we’re trying to do in this blog is to give you a big picture of the evidence or point out where it’s lacking.

Of course, I may be wrong about any findings: there’s going to be new evidence, papers I’ve missed, or maybe I’m biased about things. That’s why I’m also including links to my sources: challenge me with your own and we’ll try to make a better informed world :).

Every other week, I’ll publish my best attempt at summarizing the academic literature on a learning-related topic: if there’s anything you want me to take a look at, feel free to reach out at abouttolearn@substack.com!

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About to Learn

Writing bite-sized research summaries on learning!