Stating the obvious

I felt a tiny bit of discontent while reading a scientific article related to my field of study. It is not relevant which paper it is as there are many repeating the same pattern. Which is the following: After coming to conclusions of the paper I felt discontented. Either the authors should have kept the paper as simple as their message actually is or they should have aimed at a more challenging level of theoretical discussion.

Many papers are truly making a valuable contribution in their field at the given time by putting forward a simple argument with reasoning. It is fine by me. What I don’t understand is why authors are required to come up with a nice looking but rather disorderly theoretical framework when it is visible that they haven’t had enough time to think it over due to the publishing process.

Although it takes a-g-e-s to get a paper out of a review process, for the author(s) all the deadlines seem to come very soon. Thus, when there is not enough time for developing the paper, there is a great danger that it is not logical. Everyone trying to contribute to (social) science(s) painfully acknowledges this.

One colleague of mine was told that his/her PhD is stating the obvious. Together we tried to figure out in what ways social sciences should be coming up with “new” issues when we are studying the world as it is. Rarely some researchers “discover” a completely new theory or a phenomenon. Most of us don’t.

Additionally, it seems that the more time is put into research, the more obvious the end result seems. This is because this seemingly obvious research does a very good job in explaining the world and giving answers to interesting questions. Thus, I respect all the scientific hard work put into stating the obvious. It seems that without stating the obvious in a rigorous manner we are only stating what we think.

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