Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Understanding Health Research: new evaluation tool

Can I trust the findings of this health study? How do I make sense of this piece of research from the net?  Finding and evaluating research of good academic quality for use in assignments can be tricky.

The Understanding Health Research tool is designed to help you judge the quality of health studies, so that when you come across a piece of health research, or an article you can assess for yourself whether to trust it. The tool guides you through a series of questions to ask about the study, and, based on the answers to those questions, it helps you to assess its credibility.  There are different pathways depending on whether you found the study in the media, on a health website or in an original scientific paper. You can quickly check to see if the basic features of the study are credible, and, if you choose to analyse the study in more detail, you will be guided through a more in-depth assessment.

To help you weigh up the credibility of health studies, the tool provides guidance on concepts such as correlation and causation, scientific uncertainty and the use of statistics. Additional resources are offered, including explanatory guides, and links to external resources.

Definitely worth a try if you're new to using health resources and reports. Another useful resource for evaluating science and health science information on the net is Sense about Science.