Peer's Research Essay with Big-Picture Feedback

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Quality is the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind or the degree of excellence of something. As an IB learner, I often increase the accuracy and depth of my knowledge through my coursework and communication with my peers. Questioning the quality of knowledge I gained is a common practice of the process. I believe that knowledge that is accepted by the majority requires a physical/existing form of evidence to prove and validate its accuracy within our understanding. Knowledge is defined as justified true beliefs (Ichikawa and Steup, 2017). In the Natural Sciences, we could argue that to improve the quality of knowledge, the process of peer review is implemented as a method of confirmation and eliminating possible inaccuracies. The process of peer review can be referred to as a measurement of how many people accept it. In the Arts, to justify the knowledge being produced, the artist’s skills and the artwork’s content must reach a mutual agreement. This correspondence reflects the measurement of how many people accept. Therefore, the knowledge outcomes from these two Areas of Knowledge will differ from one another, yet, the process of confirming their quality does not.

The insights of natural sciences allow us to comprehend the process of our world. The quality of knowledge produced by the natural sciences is best measured by peer review as the method ensures that acceptance by many in the scientific community is needed to validate knowledge. Thus, utilizing people’s acceptance is a good arbiter of the quality of knowledge. However, reluctantly relying on peer review might be a disadvantage to our existence. Other aspects that may deepen our understanding of the knowledge might be hidden due to our constant focus on peer review. Therefore, the knowledge question of this Area of Knowledge is:

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To what extent does peer review validate the quality of knowledge in Natural Sciences?

In the natural sciences, the process of peer review is inevitable when forming theories and knowledge that explain the complex nuances of the world in the context of our limited human experience. Peer review is a process by which something proposed (as for research or publication) is evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field (Merriam-Webster Open Dictionary). Through this rigorous process, we can categorize it as measuring the quality of knowledge produced in the natural sciences through the number of people who accept it. A successful example of peer review as a process of obtaining knowledge is the discovery of penicillin. In September of 1928, Alexander Fleming found a petri dish containing Staphylococcus bacteria. The dish was contaminated with a blue-green mold: Penicillium notatum. Fleming noted that the presence of a clear ring surrounding the mold was where the bacteria were unable to grow. Through observing this mold and recognizing its usage, Fleming was able to uncover one of the most powerful pharmaceutical drugs in history. Despite this breakthrough, many scientists, such as Howard Florey, Norman Heatley, and Ernst Chain, peer-reviewed Fleming’s work. They carried out further tests and focused studies of the drug to ensure safety for general use. This thorough process of peer review enabled antibiotics to establish their significance in the medical field (Newman, 2019). Overall, this shows that the process of peer review is required in order to test the accuracy of a theory in the natural sciences. The study is refined by numerous perspectives that allow the accuracy of its outcome to be up-to-date and therefore is implemented to the public. Without the process of peer review in the Natural Sciences, the quality of knowledge is weakened due to the lack of required peer review. Inaccuracy in the Natural Sciences results in detrimental consequences to future studies and findings. This goes to show that the quality of knowledge is best measured by how many people accept it.

However, relying on peer review as a method of validation for the quality of knowledge can be an unrealistic scale. In 2009, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch was published. In the book, Kirsch argues that in trials, SSRIs (a common class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) performed no better than placebos. This would have been found out if some clinical trial data (peer review) had not been suppressed by pharmaceutical companies. (Bradley, 2012). By focusing on clinical data only from short-term trials submitted to the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) to receive approval for new commercial drugs, a collection of highly replicated findings is disregarded. This flaw, a focused peer reviewing process, causes the pharmaceutical industry to repeatedly outline the reality that antidepressants work effectively for a large, yet, certainly not universal. Many groups of patients have produced remissions and lengthen the time between re-occurrences of depression which has proven the ineffectiveness of antidepressants. Pharmaceutical companies and regulators have undermined the evidence of any negative studies that may portray the drugs as ineffective/less effective than those they wish to replace. However, being profit-driven, they only showcased positive studies relating to the success of the drug (Floyd Bloom, 2010). This goes to show that pressure to implement peer review as a scale to determine quality and accuracy can be unreliable due to the fact that other aspects of the study could not be reviewed nor added to the study that may strengthen its outcomes. Moreover, results presented by scientists might be biased which greatly affects the overall accuracy and quality of the knowledge produced in the Natural Sciences.

With that being said, utilizing peer review (depending on the number of people who accept it) as a measurement for the knowledge produced in the Natural Sciences might be an unrealistic scale. Despite providing the study expertise reviews, restrictions of expanding to other aspects of the study are prominent. This leads us to be inconclusive of whether the study is actually qualified or effective enough based on the limited review.

Knowledge outcomes in the Arts may differ from being measured by how many people accept it. Art is the painting, sculpture, music, theater, literature, etc., considered as a group of activities done by people with skill and imagination. (Merriam-Webster Open Dictionary). Different forms of art usually result from a response to a social, political, or personal event. I believe that the quality of knowledge in the Arts is subjective as art is based on one’s imagination. Therefore, it is best measured by a mutual agreement and recognition of the skills of the artist and the content of the artwork. To be recognized as rich in quality, the knowledge of the Arts must fulfill these two elements. Therefore, the knowledge question that focuses on this Area of Knowledge is:

To what extent does the quality of the Arts as measured by the mutual agreement of the artists’ skills and the content of the artwork?

How the process of peer review Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper - painted in 1495 and 1498 for the Dominican monastery Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan - is one of the most well-known, studied, recreated, and admired the world has ever known. The painting depicts a dramatic scene of Jesus proclaiming one of the Apostles will betray him. The painting produces knowledge that meets the requirements (artist’s skills and content of artwork) to consolidate its quality through skills, content, and form. According to Leonardo Da Vinci, the posture and expressions of Jesus and the disciples embody the variety of man’s personality (Zelazko, 2018). The simplicity of the composition results in a complex study of human emotions. The painting further establishes its significance as it was painted in tempera on stone - Leonardo Da Vinci’s very own technique. Despite some artistic qualities having been lost, viewers are able to see Leonardo’s sequential narrative of human psychology and his approach to the illusion of space. Due to the process of decay and the physical trauma of World War II, the painting was in a deteriorating state. However, its widespread recognition and acceptance by the people called for a process of restoration that lasted for 19 years (Puchko, 2017). Recognition of The Last Supper’s state of fragility does not lessen its captivation, yet, it attracts the masses to the artistic skills displayed in it, context and form. Thus, the artwork has proven the quality of its knowledge - its durability through time - through countless recreations, works of fiction, and theories. This demonstrates the relevance of the painting’s ideas and its analysis of modern society. The Last Supper both fulfills the criteria of its rich variety of skills and the depth of its content/message. This leads to global and mutual recognition of the artwork which allows it to be rigorously restored through many generations. Not only does the artwork visually please the viewers, but it also delves into the exploration of human psychology. Thus, mutual acceptance and a number of people who believe in the knowledge produced validate the quality of knowledge within the Arts.

On the other hand, the acceptance of skills and content of the artwork does not whole-heartedly convey the quality of knowledge within the Arts. Picassos' infamous work Bull’s Head is one of the simplest forms of art to ever exist. Yet, many considered it to be the most metaphorically completed. Revealed to the public in 1942, the sculpture’s mediums are the seat and handlebars of a bicycle in the shape of a bull’s head. A globally recognized art piece created on the basis of two objects coming together completely disregarded the factor that determines the quality of knowledge produced by the arts: the skills of the artist. However, it is the message of Picasso that establishes the sculpture’s popularity. By structuring the handlebars and the seat to mimic a bull’s head, the fear, ferocity, and aggression associated with the animal are minimized by the use of common objects. Picasso is essentially implying that in the age of war, violence, and genocides, the simplicity and cohesion of the sculpture embody a shred of hope for humanity (“Aristotle defined metaphor”, 2010). The visual metaphor of the artwork is very relevant in our modern society and, therefore, is recognized and accepted by the public. An artwork that lacks skills and form yet is rich in content and is able to withstand the test of time is acknowledged for the quality of knowledge it produces.

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Peer’s Research Essay with Big-Picture Feedback. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/peers-research-essay-with-big-picture-feedback/
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Peer’s Research Essay with Big-Picture Feedback [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Jan 30 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/peers-research-essay-with-big-picture-feedback/
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