The most common error...
... in online research is probably that of not checking your assumptions. We tend to see the world without questioning, and we often bake those assumptions into our research behaviors.
Here we see three common, everyday appliances: an electric tea kettle, an ordinary rice cooker, and a plain old toaster.
I've seen these for years--there's nothing especially strange or exotic about them. You've probably used them all as well.
As I was waiting for my toast to turn to a satisfactory shade of brown, I was looking at it standing next to my electric tea kettle, not far from my rice cooker and thinking about how they each know that the toast / water / rice is ready.
My assumption was that they all had the same mechanism for knowing when the toast / water / rice is at the right temperature or level of doneness.
So I was really surprised when I checked my assumption, and found that I was utterly wrong. The only device that I got right was the toaster--I knew that one--the other two surprised me.
Today's SearchResearch Challenge is simple:
1. So... how DO each of these devices know when the toast / water / rice is ready?
2. (extra credit) What other devices do you believe you understand, but when you checked, you learned that you actually didn't understand? Does anything spring to mind? Any surprises?
This SRS Challenge isn't that hard, but it brings up a fairly deep point about when to question our assumptions... and HOW to realize that your assumptions might be wrong. Any ideas?
Share your thoughts in the comments.