Today’s topic, Scientific Evidence, is one that’s near and dear to me, and inspired by current events. How does one evaluate all the competing and conflicting public health messages? How do we know what’s based on sound scientific methods, and what’s misinformation or simply clickbait? I hope today’s resources help students develop a better science sense, and an ability to recognize the difference between evidence-based information and those that are simply “bad science!”
If you find these resources helpful, please feel free to share them, or drop me a line and let me know what you think.
See ya on the Net,
Barbara J. Feldman
“Surfing the Net with Kids”
Scientific Evidence Printable(** for Premium Members only)
Scientific evidence is data gathered by the scientific method of experimentation in support of or against a hypothesis. To further validate scientific research, before publication in most scholarly journals, scientific research is reviewed by a panel of experts to determine if it meets scientific standards. This process is called “peer review.” With so many clickbait headlines about public health issues in today’s media, it is important to be able to distinguish between scientific evidence, anecdotal stories, misinformation, and opinions. Another important concept to understand is the difference between correlation (two things that happen together) and causation (one thing causes the other thing). The observation that ice cream sales and homicide increase at the same time (correlation), does not mean that buying ice cream causes murders (causation). I hope you find these resources helpful.
Compound Interest: A Rough Guide to Types of Scientific Evidence
Compound Chem is primarily a chemistry site, but this article is applicable to all fields of science. It starts with an excellent graphic describing seven types of scientific evidence. “Before discussing the two primary types of evidence, it’s worth discussing the outlier: anecdotal evidence, or an expert’s opinion. An example of anecdotal evidence would be someone relating a tale of how they experienced a reaction after ingesting a particular type of food or medication. Whilst anecdotal evidence can act as a precursor to scientific investigation, in isolation it is often considered dubious. Perhaps surprisingly, an expert opinion on a particular topic is considered to be at the same level as anecdotal evidence.”
McGill: Why Oh Why Do Scientists Keep Changing Their Minds?
“Headlines may make you think scientists don’t know anything and keep changing their tune, but there are many reasons behind this vexing perception.” Terrific article listing a handful of reasons why science reporting can be so confusing. The conclusion is that although scientists so sometimes disagree with each other, the problem is usually the result of poorly done studies, hype in the reporting of results, or interest groups purposely creating fake controversies to spread doubt and confusion.
Sense about Science: I Don’t Know What to Believe
“This booklet explains how scientists present and judge research using the peer review process, and how the public can make sense of science stories.” Click on the red button to download the “I don’t know what to believe anymore” PDF. How can you tell if reported science news is based on research that was peer reviewed? It can be difficult, but usually articles based on peer-reviewed studies will have a bibliography that lists the researchers’ names, the name of the journal, the edition number of the journal, and the year it was published.
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Printables Club Members Also Get …
Surfnetkids Printables Club Members also get the following printables to use in the classroom, the computer lab, the school library, or to send home with students:
Scientific Evidence Printable
Scientific Evidence Wikipedia Printable
Scientific Method Printable
Bad Science Printable
Science Fair Project Ideas Printable
Cool Science Experiments Printable
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Quote of the Week
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”” ~~ William James ~~ (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher, historian, and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. For more interesting quotes about attitude, click this link.
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