You’ve seen the scenario on “Law and Order” many times: the defense lawyer tosses out a wild accusation that the person on the witness stand (or someone else related to the case) is the real killer – with no evidence whatsoever behind it. Jurors have now heard about an alternative suspect for the crime. The judge proclaims that the jurors “must disregard the last statement.” But, can they?
In research, as in life, first impressions matter a lot. Most sensible people don’t go on a first date disheveled, wearing sweatpants and their favorite raggedy hoodie from their alma mater, but rather wait to break those out well into a relationship. Working papers are the research equivalent of sweatshirts with pizza stains on them, but we wear them on our first date with our audience.