Why do research?
Medical students and doctors in training are asked to accept two
incompatible view. of medicine - firstly, that it is a scientific discipline
based on objective research, and secondly, that everything which they are
taught is true and not to be questioned. In the environment of examinations
and career competition, the second view tends to gain precedence, and only
occasionally does the young doctor glimpse the very shaky foundations on
which 'scientific medicine' is actually based. As a practicing general
practitioner, however, he soon discovers facts that conflict with the 'facts'
which he swallowed whole in medical school; he discovers that what he has
learned is one part fact to every ten parts of educated guesswork; and that
there are very few definite answers to the questions which arise in his
For most of us then, our practice is mainly a matter of trial and error.