A retraction

Posted by on Feb 11, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Yesterday, I posted an infographic about bad science that focused on researchers cutting corners. I was reluctant to post it namely because I don’t especially care for infographics. Where I felt short, however, was in my failure to properly vet the data. The irony runs deep on this, namely because the point of the post was to help you, dear readers, learn how to discern good information from bad. Clearly, I didn’t do my own due diligence.

Science writer and AVP of Research Communications at Ohio State University Earle Holland dissected the infographic in his post, A graphic misrepresentation, aptly noting that “science as a subject is all too often seen by the public as too complicated to understand. It’s a normal tendency for people to reach out for, and maintain, simpler notions that require less work.”

There are a lot of bad data floating around on the web, particularly when it comes to medical information. Unfortunately, many members of media tasked with writing about studies don’t always have the proper training or time to do their homework; business pressures to publish, sensationalize and draw readers often takes precedence over careful reporting. That, coupled with the immediacy of news in the age of social platforms creates a gap between information and communication that may not be properly bridged.

I stand by my recommendations to do your homework, use your head when reading a news story, and to take advantage of tools that are out there, such as criteria for reading news stories developed by Gary Schwitzer and his crew over at HealthNewsReview.

Meanwhile? I promise to keep my promise to do the homework so you don’t have to.

Enjoy the weekend!


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