Evidence Matters

because science reporting and decision-making should be evidence-based

Science: So What? Commissioning and promoting bad research in the name of science communications

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We were disappointed to see that The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) science communication campaign Science: So What? So Everything had commissioned and was promoting a poor quality research report. This report – The Shape of Jobs to Come by Rohit Talwar and Tim Hancock [PDF] of Fast Future – has been heavily PRd, with approving quotes from Gordon Brown and Lord Drayson [PDF]. Even at a glance, though, it clearly fails to meet some basic research standards: for example, the methodologies used are not justified and the references provided are frequently inadequate.

We therefore asked a few social scientists for their opinions of the report. One of them wrote an extensive review of the report, to highlight some of the problems. The review has been sent to BIS, but they still stand by the report. The review is therefore pasted below: so that readers can make up their own minds as to the quality of the Fast Future report.

Because we wanted to give BIS time to respond, before posting, it has taken a while to blog this. In the meantime, 10minus9 has been starting to pull the report apart in excellent posts on Fast Future‘s report for Science: So What. There’s a little overlap with the review below, so definitely worth reading 10minus9 too.

The review follows in full Read the rest of this entry »


1 in 6 NHS Patients Is Misdiagnosed: BBC Scotland Investigation

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One in six patients in the NHS is misdiagnosed, according to an investigation by BBC Scotland. I’m surprised that this investigation into the extent of misdiagnosis in the NHS has not received more publicity. The figures being quoted are that 1 in 6 patients receives a misdiagnosis from a GP or a hospital Read the rest of this entry »

Written by oatmealts

September 22, 2009 at 11:15 am

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Science: So What Is Looking for a Dialogue Manager

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From the Science: So What Campaign. A job opportunity for someone who shares their interests (it is a paid position but the hours and salary are unspecified here). [See update for some outline details.] Read the rest of this entry »

Written by oatmealts

July 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

Alan Breen in praise of chiropractic and democracy

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We were pleased to see a call from Prof Alan Breen (at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, and on two GCC committees) for a move beyond or supplement to evidence-based medicine in order to achieve a “more democratic and inclusive…age” in “musculoskeletal practice”. However, it is unfortunate that Breen fails to follow through on the implications of his demand. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by oatmealts

June 27, 2009 at 10:09 pm

The Telegraph runs uncritical articles discussing homoeopathy and unconventional theories about climate change

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The Telegraph runs a lot of excellent articles. However, it is unfortunate that today they ran two that fell below their usual standards. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jonhw

June 22, 2009 at 11:14 pm

British Chiropractic Association and The Plethora of Evidence for Paediatric Asthma

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British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has issued a third update in the matter of BCA v. Simon Singh. Leaving aside the BCA discussion of the legal aspects of the case, the BCA has risen to the challenge so famously issued by Professor Frank Frizelle when he was entrammelled in a dispute with chiropractors in New Zealand: “let’s hear your evidence not your legal muscle”. The BCA is to be commended for releasing the details of the research papers they rely upon for their stance that “chiropractic can help various childhood conditions” such as asthma. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by oatmealts

June 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Chiropractors accuse critics of “witch hunt” for examining evidence

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The case of Simon Singh vs the BCA (British Chiropractic Association) is prompting calls for a re-examination of the UK’s libel laws. Bloggers are responding by scrutinising some of the chiropractic claims that triggered this case and this has already resulted in changes to what chiropractors are willing to claim. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by oatmealts

June 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm