5 questions to ask yourself when reading about science
Be critical - and fall in love with science

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The news is full of stories about »new research«, »groundbreaking ­studies«, ­and­ »scientific ­breakthroughs«.

One day you might read that the mystery of cancer has been solved,­ and ­the­ next­ you­ read­ that ­we ­might­ never ­find ­a­cure. What is true or false? And who can you trust?

Videnskab.dk has 10 years experience in navigating the jungle of­ scientific­research ­and­ we ­want ­to­ share ­it ­with­ you.

To make it manageable we have boiled it down to 5 questions that you can ask yourself when you read about research in the news.

The five questions - and our best tips on how to answer them - make up what we call our 'Manifesto' and you can download it here:

The 5 questions

1. Is it solid research?

2. Where did you read about it?

3. What do the results mean?

4. Do the results agree
with other research?

5. Where does the money
come from?

The manifesto explains why those five questions are so important and how you can find the answers.

Armed with our manifesto, you can learn to spot whether the media outlet that you get your news from have done their job properly, and whether a story about new research carries weight or should be taken with a pinch of salt.

This manifesto is not intended to make you doubt science or scientists. On the contrary, we are mad about science, because it is the most trustworthy source of information that we have.

But ­scientific ­research­ is ­not ­the ­final ­truth. Rather,­ it ­is ­the best ­knowledge ­that ­we ­have ­right ­here, ­right ­now. ­Research­ is always associated with uncertainties, scientists often disagree with each other, and not all evidence is equally strong or reliable. 

Learning how to be a critical consumer of science news, will help you to get the most out of the many 'new research' stories published each day. And it will give you a new appreciation of all the genuine knowledge that scientists produce.

Help us improve

The 5 questions presented here are not written in stone. This manifesto is based on our own experience as journalists.

We would also like to hear from you about how to navigate through the world of scientific research and science reporting. You can help us to improve.

  • Have we forgotten something?
  • Is there something that we can do to improve our own reporting of daily science news?

Write to us with your feedback at redaktion@videnskab.dk.

We also listen to scientists. Around the world, researchers are studying how best to communicate science and conduct science journalism.

We work on this ourselves at the Danish Centre for Science Communication at Videnskab.dk.

Here, we review the newest research in scicomm. We also develop and test new communication formats and tools to see how they work in practice. As well as producing this manifesto, we are also developing a “Science Quality Marker” to give media consumers a visual guide to judging the quality of any single research result.

All of our activities are conducted in collaboration with scientists, universities, and non-profit funding agencies.

If you would like to propose a new project or have a communication problem you want to solve, write to us at formidling@videnskab.dk.

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