What science reporters should know about meta-analyses before covering them

As science journalists who take our job seriously, we’ve learned a couple of rules by heart: never present a correlation as a causation, always check whether a sample is representative and never rely on a single study. As the expression goes: one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

These are all good starting points. But they are far from making us unimpeachable in our reporting.

As a result of the third principle, we tend to rely on review studies. More specifically: systematic…