How Scientific are the ‘Science’ Studies we are Bombarded by?
We are all constantly bombarded by studies and statistic, and yet it is important to stop and question their validity.
Not all scientific studies are reliable. Not all academic journals are equal in their review process, thus some studies are more thoroughly reviewed than others. Researchers are under a constant pressure to publish, and to publish new information. They are pressured by employers, grants and tenure committees. There is also no incentive to continue funding research unless it produces new and shocking results, because no one is willing to spend funds on reconfirming results, opening the possibility for flutes in data and research.
Another source of unreliable studies is a result of P-Hacking. P-Hacking is when researchers collect large numbers of variables in hopes of finding correlations that are statistically significant. However this does not account for if the correlations make sense, or if the numbers actually mean anything.
In a video by John Oliver, he points out the importance of having a healthy skepticism when listening to scientific studies reported in the media. He points out that the broadcasts often take nuance results out their fields, never thoroughly explain them or provide the full information. Some facts often omitted when studies are reported in the media, include whether the study was performed on humans, sample size and many other variables.
I have often heard scientific study statement from family members. Where they have chosen specific studies that matched their preexisting views, such as which foods are healthy for you. In reality, when looking up these studies, such as chocolate being healthy for the results are often conflicted or highly variable, something my family members often omit or never bother looking up in the first place.
All of these factors are important when doing research and trying to find reliable information. It is important to always check the validity of your source, and to stick to more peer reviewed sources. It is also important to consider the field as a whole as opposed to focusing on one study.