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   Out, darn spot! Guided Research: Research Values     
the KanCRN Collaborative Research Network


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When researchers answer questions, those answers may have bigger effects on society than just answering the questions.  For example in the 1970s, environmentalists, people who try to solve problems with the environment, became concerned with phosphates in detergents.
Phosphates were added to detergents to help remove dirt and to make the water softer.  
Environmentalists discovered that phosphates were causing problems in lakes and streams. Phosphates overfertilized algae; in other words, it fed them too much.
Too much algae grew in the water using up most of the oxygen supply in the water.
Without the oxygen, fish and other animals in the water died.
Many dead fish were seen as a sign of pollution.
To solve this problem, many states made it unlawful to use large amounts of phosphates in detergents.
Detergent manufacturers responded by creating many phosphate free detergents.

Although removing phosphates from detergents was a problem for the manufacturers, they made the change for the good of society.

As we can see, a solution to one problem can lead to another one.  Society often has to decide what is best for everyone. Do we ignore the new problems to use the solution or do we come up with an alternative answer to help the new problem, too?  The solution you came up with for the KanCRN director may lead to problems we haven't thought about or haven't seen yet.

Another value that researchers may look at in this project is cost. Is your solution the most cost effective one?  Often times the price of a solution determines whether it is used.

Other researchers may have opinions about your solution or about the project in general. Researchers can discuss these opinions in a variety of ways. Within KanCRN, these discussions take place in the discussion forum area. Everyone is invited to discuss various issues on this project as well as bring up questions.  Link to the Discussion Area.

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