by Brian Woods
“Bigfoot Research” is a label that is often used and applied to a wide variety of activities and actions being performed by enthusiasts, believers, and skeptics. The backgrounds, skill sets, and talents of these participants are extremely diverse. This diversity, when coupled with good research and documentation habits, can be a very effective combination.
No matter the skills being employed, or the measure of progress being made, each and every field of research follows what is commonly referred to as the Scientific Method. Unfortunately, many who participate in Bigfoot research believe that because they may lack a formal education in applicable scientific or technical concepts, they are disqualified from participating in high quality research or data collection. This is absolutely not the case.
The reality is that any discovery or observation, regardless of who collects and studies the data, would inevitably be subject to the same vetting process known as the Scientific Method. It's an equalizer of sorts.
Let's have a look at the Scientific Method itself:
Merriam-Webster offers this definition: “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses”.
Don't be intimidated by concepts or processes that you fear you don't quite understand. It's not terribly difficult to conduct perfectly legitimate and defensible research if you develop a little discipline with your research habits. Any well-intentioned novice researcher, even having no idea of what to eventually do with all of their collected findings, can still confidently engage in field projects by simply adding a good measure of accountability in their data collection.
Accountability to who? This is a valid question. This begins as an accountability to yourself. Isn't quite difficult to completely fool yourself? No matter the great lengths taken by hoaxsters to fabricate evidence and experiences, they still have the same inner dialogue we all do. The little voice knows all. For the rest of us who don't engage in such dishonest activities, it's that same little voice that cheers us on like your biggest fan chanting from the bleachers.
There's also an accountability to the Scientific Method itself, and recognition that it's essentially an expression of human ability. We seek to understand the world around us not only for survival, but for the improvement of our physical and emotional lives. The Scientific Method provides a roadmap of what it takes to build verified knowledge, whether it coincides with our original question or not. Other times, the conclusions we reach simply generate more questions, and the expectations of a clear answer are reduced pending further insight or development.
For every monumental advance in the scientific community, there were alternate explanations or criticisms that needed to be resolved along the way. Data collected during research illuminated what future actions would be taken. Bigfoot research is no different, and if we wish to resolve our own field’s alternate explanations and criticisms, we must pay close attention to how research is conducted. It's what will separate our work from the fame-seekers and armchair experts, who offer grandiose claims or dismissive explanations. It's what will propel the wheels of progress and understanding forward.
There's no credential or expertise in the world that can force you to conduct your Bigfoot research within the framework of the Scientific Method. It's not possible, and is not necessary. Truth is supported by empirical data. Let your accurate data be your guide. It can be verified. All on it's own. The data must exist, though. Quality research doesn't materialize on it's own. When it comes to your research and documentation, resist the urge to procrastinate. Yes, it can be tedious to keep a journal and stay accountable. If you're going to spend the time and resources to engage in Bigfoot research, don't devalue your own work by letting those audio files and observations gather dust on a shelf or socked away on a hard drive or memory card. Analysis of your data is just as important as collecting it. Creating a routine for what you do with your data can be helpful, especially if you consistently adhere to it, and recognize when the routine needs to be changed. You may find that you should be documenting additional bits of data to support the project. It's also possible that you'll realize other aspects you've focused on in the past aren't applicable. Forgotten or neglected data can't help you at all.
I hope you'll join the Lowlands Bigfoot Research Group in our attempts to elevate the standards of Bigfoot research being conducted, and approach each obstacle we encounter with the dedication and discipline that we will undoubtedly need. If we begin by remaining accountable to ourselves, we've already made progress.
Lowlands Bigfoot Research Group