How to Spot Bad Science

If you're a regular at this blog, you'll have picked up on my favourite theme - bad science (and bad science journalism) in the world of psychology and neuroscience. The anonymous author of the Compound Chem blog has put together a rather splendid bucket list of issues to look out for when reading science news, that fits in so well with the Big Think colour scheme that I couldn't help but repost it. You can download the PDF here which is released under a creative commons licence.


Personally, my only gripe with the poster is point five on speculative language - which as Girl, Interrupting over at Occams Typewriter rightly points out, you can expect to find in good research as much as bad:

Saying ‘we see this’ and ‘we think this means that’ is perfectly acceptable in scientific literature. In fact it is the bread and butter of many research publications. I am far more dubious of a study which says ‘we see this, therefore it absolutely must mean that’

After you've had a good read of the poster, I recommend checking out the ensuing discussion over at Girl, Interrupting's post and on the original post at Compound Chem.

NB: For those who didn't get the reference in the cover image, here's an amusing explainer from the JAYFK blog on why you should be especially careful not to tread in bad science if you ever find yourself on content farms such as Science Daily.

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Cover Image by Gil C.

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