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Choose your studies and words wisely By Chloe Reichel Many of the most popular news stories about health research include overstated findings or substantial inaccuraciesaccording to a study led by Noah Habera postdoctoral researcher at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The reviewers focused on the methodology and language used in the research papers. The reviewers looked at how the authors described their results.
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Did they say or imply that one variable was a direct result of another variable when, in actuality, the authors had found only a correlation — a relationship of some sort? Haber and his colleagues Newspaper healthcare research study widespread problems with the language used to describe the research findings, both in the studies and the resultant media coverage.
Twenty percent of academic papers strongly implied causal results; 34 percent used language that was stronger than what the reviewers deemed appropriate.
Next, the reviewers evaluated the associated most-shared news articles to see whether they accurately reported the main features of the study. They also compared the language used in the articles to the language used in the papers, focusing on potential overstatements of causality.
In the news, 48 percent of articles overstated findings and 58 percent had one or more substantial inaccuracies such as misreporting the question. These studies might avoid causal language, but, through their design, dog whistle a causal connection where there might not be one.
And even when academic researchers and reporters are careful with the language they use, technically accurate terminology can suggest inaccurate conclusions to the lay reader. Haber believes there are a few clues journalists can pick up on to determine whether a study merits coverage: In other words, controlling for many variables can hint that the researchers are interested in one specific effect to the exclusion of alternate explanations.
A lot of this stuff can be quite interesting to share around. If the assumed purpose is [determining] causality, then a lot of the stuff is inappropriate to write about.
But there are a lot of examples of interesting associations that are really useful by themselves, and are interesting and doing a lot of interesting stuff.
One example is disparities research. And then ask them, if no, [for] a person reading this article, what should this change about their lives?
However, Haber noted that not all third parties share the same level of expertise.
He noted that certain sources are often repeatedly interviewed in coverage of various, broad research topics, and that they might not necessarily have the specific expertise or credibility to provide insight on a specific research study.
He also cautioned against taking a single study as the be-all, end-all: Health News Review even has criteria by which they evaluate news write-ups of academic research, which reporters might find useful.
August 20, We welcome feedback. Please contact us here. Haber, Noah; et al.Pakistan Newspaper Jobs Ads of Jang, Dawn, Express, Nawaiwaqt and The News | Newspaper Jobs in Lahore,Karachi,Islamabad,Rawalpindi,Peshawar & Quetta.
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Aug 20, · Many of the most popular news stories about health research include overstated findings or substantial inaccuracies, according to a study led by Noah Haber, a postdoctoral researcher at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.