You may remember how a couple of weeks ago I told you the story of Sajid and his sad addiction to knee-jerking. Well, I’ve found out some more about this story, and it’s not pretty.

One of the precursors to knee-jerking is often a substance that addicts know as ‘research’. However, it’s important to stress that this ‘research’ often bears little resemblance to what you or I might term as research. It’s often of poor quality, comes from unknown sources and has often been cut with self-selecting samples and unweighted data. We’re all aware that even the highest quality research can be misused, so imagine what this poor-quality ‘research’ might be like in the hands of a committed knee-jerker.

You don’t need to imagine, as it turns out that Sajid’s latest knee-jerk was based on some very poor-quality ‘research’. It’s now “a remarkably effective operation” able to turn ‘research’ into a full knee-jerk policy within the space of a morning, and thanks to the internet, that policy can be distributed to hundreds of hungry distributors (often called ‘journalists’ in the knee-jerk trade) to force onto an unsuspecting public, telling them that it’s proper and reliable policy but not of its shady origins.

‘Research’ is clearly a vital precursor to knee-jerking, and perhaps by stemming the flow of it we might be able to begin to win the battle against the knee-jerk policy that’s flooding the country right now. Perhaps one way to start would be to educate politicians and other knee-jerkers about how to recognise the signs of poor quality ‘research’ and to ask questions of their suppliers before using it. Maybe then our streets won’t be flooded with poor-quality policies.