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Understanding Health Research - new online tool for assessing scientific papers

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by sarah darwins, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    This is a bit above my pay grade but I'm posting it because the scientists and statisticians among you may find it interesting. It seems very on-point for a lot of what gets discussed here in the research-related threads.

    I'm not competent to evaluate this evaluation tool (!) but perhaps someone with the necessary scientific chops would like to give it a whirl to assess, oh, I don't know, PACE or something.

    Apparently it takes about 30 minutes to run for a given study, and I think you need the original research paper to hand.

    ****************

    The Guardian today reports a new online tool launched by Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow (MRC/CSO SPHSU) at University of Glasgow aimed at helping the public evaluate scientific research.

    Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/science...-that-helps-the-public-decode-health-research

    The actual tool is found here:

    http://www.understandinghealthresearch.org
     
    Valentijn, TiredSam and Effi like this.
  2. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    One note: there are only a few comments so far below the Guardian article, but they're all pretty skeptical about the usefulness of this tool. It would be nice to get an assessment from someone who knows their way around research.
     
  3. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    It's good that there is awareness and discussion about this problem. I'm not impressed with the tool. Merely listing good and bad points of a particular study is a very superficial way to evaluate it. The user can easily be misled into believing that strengths can make up for weaknesses. That the study was peer reviewed, that conflicts of interests were declared, and that it was funded by public sources and conducted in a university setting doesn't make up for a lack of blinding. It only takes one source of significant bias or error to produce misleading results.
     
    Dolphin, JaimeS, mango and 3 others like this.

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