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Trials and Errors

Lyrics and music by Greg Crowther, performed by Monty Harper and Friends © 2019

Inspired by the blog post "Reading Clickbait | Stats Chat"

Well, last month I got a big surprise
As I was scanning an online source.
It said my lifespan would probably rise
If I would choose to buy a horse!

I guessed the author was mistaken,
And then I got to the final lines,
Which said, “This is no mere correlation; 
The research study was double-blind!” 

A double-blind study of horse ownership?
A double-blind study of horse ownership!
Is it for real, or is it a quip?
It’s a double-blind study of horse ownership!

A little while later, I saw an ad
For a study seeking volunteers.
The topic didn’t seem half-bad:
Teen behavior and drinking beer.

But it said that there would be two groups --
Drinking and non-drinking juveniles --
And the researchers would assign the youths
In the manner of a randomized trial!

A randomized trial of underage drinking?
A randomized trial of underage drinking!
Who’s in charge, and what are they thinking?
It’s a randomized trial of underage drinking!

Well, the second study seemed so suspect,
I called the number in the ad.
I said, “I can’t be one of your subjects
But can I share some concerns I had?

The guy in charge said, “Never fear!
Rigor is our research credo!
The group that doesn’t receive the beer
Will drink tap water as a placebo!”

Placebo controls of plain tap water?
Placebo controls of plain tap water!
If that’s what they’re doing, why even bother
With placebo controls of plain tap water?

And if you’re looking for a moral here,   
The lesson learned is not a hard one.   
Regardless of a study’s slick veneer, 
Do not be fooled by fancy jargon!


Watch the Music Video: https://www.causeweb.org/cause/resources/fun/videos/trials-and-errors