PHL 195 Bailey CBL Project: Evaluating Science Articles

Guide to support CBL project about Cascade Learning Gardens

Evaluating the quality of scientific information

Critical thinking is always necessary when reading about science research, especially when reading summaries of that research in news or popular sources.  The articles below list some of the critical questions to have in mind when evaluating science claims.

Science in the news and popular media

News and popular media sources proclaim with excitement the latest results from science research.  How do you know if these reports accurately reflect the research, or if it has been oversimplified, sensationalized or distorted?  The best assurance is to look up the original research and see for yourself.  

These articles below show some of the ways that popularized science may get things wrong.  

Some peer reviewd articles are more credible than others!

Peer review is the gold standard of science publishing, but critical evaluation is still necessary to decide how much weight to give the results of any single study.  The resources below present some questions to ask of any science study, even in a peer reviewed journal. 

Guide to spotting bad science

Going deeper

For those who are interested in diving deep into evaluating scientific research, the following articles discuss flaws in the peer review process and publishing of scientific papers.  Please don’t let learning about these flaws make you cynical!  Science is by its nature self-correcting, so this attention to potential errors helps to identify flawed research so that better research will eventually prevail.