Research is crucial to help understand how and why things work and to develop new approaches and technologies. In Medicine, including
the mental health field, research can broaden our understanding and help develop new treatments. I is certainly important that treatments
have some base in established knowledge or research.
In order to do research on a topic one has to be able to operationalize
the concept; finding ways to be able to use research instruments to measure the issue at stake This means that frequently,
the factor that one is researching is an approximation of the issue that is being investigated. This can lead to two problems.
One can then interpret a positive result as a confirmation of the original concept, or people can begin to forget about the original
idea and see the approximation as being totally valid within itself. In order for useful information to come from a study it has to
have both clinical and construct validity, and be interpreted with an understanding of the inherent limitations in both the design
and research principles.
In the ideal world, all medical research would be done by independent institutions by teams of clinicians
and researchers who develop the studies and interpret the results relative to clinical knowledge. In reality this is not the way most
research is done. These days research often is funded by private sources or within departments that may have their own biases.
Even with independently funded research, the researchers usually have ideas that they are trying to prove. This is not a bad
thing in itself, as clearly researchers are going to be more excited and dedicated to a task if they are trying to discover or prove
a certain concept, but it is a factor that needs to be kept in mind.