Is this science real? A guide to navigating scientific claims in online articles.
Science is tricky. Online articles are often driven by number of clicks and contain catchy headlines designed to pique interest: "Carcinogenic chemicals are hiding in your child's food", "New study shows a higher risk of cancer with people who hop on one foot for more than 20 minutes at a time", "You'll never guess what toxic chemicals are inside your water"! Well, those are not direct quotes, but you get the idea. How can you, a curious reader trying to make your own reasoned decisions, figure out if the science behind these headlines is sound? It's not always easy.
Compound Interest, a website run by a chemistry educator in the UK with a great reputation for bringing light to chemistry in everyday life, did the hard work for us this month. Below, find their common-licensed guide to critical thinking for articles containing scientific conclusions. While some of this information is geared towards reading scientific or medical journal publications, many of these general trends can be applied when reading news articles or trendy science "facts" passed around online. Enjoy, fellow science enthusiasts! #TogetherWeScience
Or in meme terms, just listen to Batman.