You’ve heard about a scientific study? Ask yourself 8 questions

Some sources aren’t careful about how they report a study’s conclusions. Ask yourself these questions before you draw conclusions


  1. Does it cite the authors? 
    Expressions like “According to a study” or “Experts say” are too vague. It’s crucial to know three things: Who published the study? In what scientific journal? When? 
  2. Was it peer reviewed? 
    Peer review gives a study credibility. Unless other researchers validate the results, be very careful when you consider them. 
  3.  Was it conducted on humans?
    Tests on stem cells or mice aren’t enough to prove a treatment is effective. Human studies must be done.  
  4. Was the treatment compared to a placebo? 
    The best health studies test a drug on two groups. Neither group knows who received the real treatment and who got a placebo. 
  5. How big was the sample? 
    Did the study include 12 people or 12,000? A good sample gives a good idea of how these results apply to the general population.  
  6.  Are the numbers in context? 
    Let’s say a treatment claims to reduce the risks of complications by 80%. Ask yourself: 80% of what? If one person in 10 suffers from complications, that’s a lot more impressive than one in a million.  
  7. Does this study confirm other studies? 
    If only one study is available, take it with a grain of salt. Wait for other studies to support it… or contradict it.  
  8. Does it mention its weak points? 
    Every study has its weak points and its down side. The study’s authors identify these problems. You should also find them in the article and videos about the study.  


If these points are missing, be suspicious. Don’t jump to conclusions!  

Before you share the results, check if other sources reported them better. 







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