Scientific Blogging takes a look and considers that it’s often not the data, nor the scholarly interpretation, but the journanimalism:
- The media already often get the details wrong in reporting scientific studies. It makes it worse to compound that with confusing reporting.
- The media often highlight the wrong bits, in efforts to get catchy headlines and “interesting” copy.
- Readers don’t understand statistics, and misinterpretation is likely even when the stats are there. Don’t make it worse by eliminating them.
- Readers are prone to generalize results beyond what’s valid, and they’ll likely apply a group trent to specific individuals, as in the example above.
- Readers don’t understand the limitations of studies. Reporters should try to talk about one or two key limitations.
Read this. It makes it easier to understand the mess.