From the Rockerfeller University, a simple guide to separating science from hype, no PhD required:
- Separate the sales pitch from the science — “In short, read articles carefully and figure out if the claims they make are based on the facts they present.”
- Find the data — “use Google Scholar to look for the original source. Search with whatever information you have: the names of the scientists, their institution, or the main topic.”
- Evaluate the data — “Think about it this way: if you were in charge of figuring out the height of the average American male, you would need to measure a bunch of people to get it right. If you only measured a few people, and they happened to be basketball players, you’d be way off.”
The section on misleading graphs here is brilliant.
- Put the story into context — “If you’re having trouble finding alternative perspectives, the Wikipedia page for the topic can be a good place to start, especially if it contains a “controversy” or “criticism” section.”
- Ask an expert — “Is there a science blogger you like? Tweet at them. […] Nothing beats a real discussion (even over Twitter or email!), but you can also check out neutral, non-biased sites like Mayo Clinic.”
(via Boing Boing)