Research information can be wrong

There is a plethora of information out there and most of this information can find itself in the hands of learners who can either misinterpret it or use it in ways which might not justify the ends.

Last week I read an article in the latest edition of Men’s Health which postulated that 3 or 4 cups of caffeine particularly coffee is good for prevention of heart disease, diabetes and cancers. The following day whilst browsing down the Health section of BDLive website I came across another article which described how caffeine use between partners can cause miscarriage. Confusing isn’t it? To authenticate the articles I simply went through them all over again with a different agenda this time. I looked at the finer details like research author, research institute, date of publishing, how the conclusion was drawn and other nitty gritty details which are so often overlooked and reached my conclusion.

I believe this is the same dilemma most of our learners struggle with when they start doing research. The authenticity of the information which they share is a big concern.

Teach your learners the following skills when reading up on topics:

  • Identify the author of the research- Who did it and the authors credibility .Simply stating “Science has discovered….�? is inappropriate.
  • Research institute which carried out the research-is it a reputable institute of research?
  • Date of publishing - some of the research can be old and outdated.
  • Relevance of the research - can the information be used in any sphere to enhance a health condition or behaviour?
  • Where the research information was acquired - a magazine, journal, newspaper, word of mouth or research paper? A research paper is a much more trustworthy source. 

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