Some basic questions will help you sift through scientific studies in a snap — or at least put on you a path to determining the study's value.

  • Who did the study?
  • Who funded the study?
  • Who controlled the study?
  • How big was the sample size?
  • Who recruited the participants? How?
  • What variables were the findings adjusted for? Why?
  • Did the study confirm or deny the author's hypothesis? How and why?
  • What conclusions can people draw from this study?
  • What behavior changes have authors made in their lives after conducting this study?

Taken from Whose Truth? Tools for Smart Science Journalism in the Digital Age, a self-directed course by Elissa Yancey at Poynter NewsU.

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