Subscribe to Inc. magazine

Don't Be Fooled: 3 Studies You Should Ignore

There's a ton of research out there about what makes people more productive. But should you be listening to all of it?

Every day, you are bombarded with studies. And while all of the studies seem to have the right answer as to how to run your business, manage your staff, interact with your customers, the trick becomes knowing which studies to pay attention to--and which to ignore. One way to do make that call is to always ask yourself who, why and how. 

Who was surveyed?  

Last week, AdviceIQ released a study that claimed that women and young investors (of both genders) are not as financially savvy as their male and older counterparts. 

The problem with the survey, also pointed out by Bloomberg Businessweek, is that out of the 350 financial advisers that were interviewed, 300 of them were men. More than 60 of them were 50 or older. So those surveyed were the male, older counterparts. 

Why is this study being conducted? 

You should always be skeptical as to why a certain study was conducted. Take this "Employees Work Better with Clean Offices" study.

"A recent study has shown that employees are able to be more productive and creative in a clean space," claims a press release posted on The Small Business Wire.  The press release goes on to refer to statistics that have been gathered over a 10 to 15 year long period, but fails to list what the statistics actually are. Or how they have been collected. Or who the employees in question are. 

If the lack of information wasn't enough to make you skeptical, just consider the fact that the press release was issued by the Pro Office Cleaning Solutions. 

"These figures" - what figures?- "may prove interesting news for managerial teams and business owners, instead of investing in the next big campaign – maybe the money would be better spent on hiring a team of office cleaners," it states.

Oh, you mean a team like the Pro Office Cleaning Solutions? 

How is this information being presented? 

A recently headline from The Telegraph reads: "Going to the loo at night makes you less productive, study finds."

Eh -- not really.

The study in question finds that people who suffer from nocturia, a condition which causes a person to wake up during the night to urinate, are 24 percent less productive than people who do not suffer from nocturia. The headline of this story, while interesting, does not give you the full story. 


Last updated: Apr 8, 2013


Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: