Observational vs. Experimental Covid research – what’s the difference?

I prefer experimental research, where you collect data and analyze it. I was trained in science, starting high school. Observational vs. Experimental Covid research – what’s the difference?

Observational research

This type of research uses several different types of non-experimental studies where behavior is systematically observed and recorded. The goal of observational research is to describe a variable or set of variables. Many Covid research studies are observational.  Over 200,000 people have died, and we need analysis and information as fast as we can get it. There is not enough time to set up experimental research. Observational research can help until there is time for experimental research.

The CDC research study, on 15 minutes of intermittent exposure was observational. The study had only one person. A prison guard interacted with infected prisoners over a specified period of time.

My blog post A home is not always safe from Covid-19 had a study where infected persons and their household members were tested over a period of time. There was significant virus transmission among household members.

Another widely quoted example of observational research on airborne transmission was a crowded choir practice in Seattle in a small room with no masks or social distancing. Other indoor choir practices were not analyzed, such as the effect of face masks and physical distancing.

Experimental research

This research is a scientific approach. One or more independent variables are manipulated and applied to one or more dependent variables to measure their effect on the latter.

For Covid, the vaccine trials are experimental: one group gets the vaccine, the other receives a placebo (saline solution). The research is double-blind: no one knows which one they receive. Observational vs. Experimental Covid research – what’s the difference?

Experimental vs. observational research

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Preprint vs. peer-reviewed scientific research papers. What is the difference?

Before the pandemic, academic researchers submitted their research to scientific journals and their peers reviewed them. To get ahead in their careers “publish or perish” was needed. Few preprint scientific research papers were done They are needed now for the COVID pandemic.

COVID is a pandemic now. People are dying all over the world. Scientists can’t wait to have a study published to find out about new ideas about therapies (treatments), vaccines, Covid and how it works, etc.

What is a preprint?

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