This week on Talk Back Thursday, as a new study pops up every now and then through various media outlets, we discuss the credibility and authenticity of these scientific studies..
I am an undergraduate science student, and like most students out there, I bear an idyllic image of how life as a scientist would be. Sure, there will be long hours, unsuccessful experiments, ruthless competition, arduous attempts at being recognized in the scientific community, but in the end, it’s all worth it, Right?
There is an entire field of Science Journalism that students are usually unaware of, as John Oliver, host of the popular show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver explains, how problems with science journalism focus on the latter part of the term- Journalism. We all love to follow various science pages on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. however, most of us never bother to check out the citations and references associated with the study. Getting information quickly is part of the society now, and likely isn’t going away.
More and more big, splashy results are demanded by the media and this is where things go awry. Journalists do not take the time, or have the skill to decode a scientific paper which results in unrelated big bold conclusions. As we know, most research papers focus on very minute aspects of a complex study. Just because a study is small, does not mean it is insignificant. It simply means an individual study can never be used to conclude a scientific problem.
Science is used to understand the universe, scientists explore the forests and journalists often show you the most exciting tree. Those conflicting interests often lead to mislead reporting.
As a student of science, I feel it is my moral responsibility to switch over to science in research publications from science in Facebook. Because all of these failures lead to confusion and ultimately erode the public’s trust in scientists.
These are my thoughts, let me know in the comments what do you think about Scientific Studies. Also, if you have the time, do watch the John Oliver segment on the same topic. Let us know what we should discuss in the next Talk Back Thursday.