Evidence Matters

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

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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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

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

Evidence Matters on UK political parties manifestos for the EU elections

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Evidence Matters is pleased to see that science bloggers Frank Swain and Martin Robbins, of Sciencepunk and Layscience respectively, have an article on The Guardian website analysing the science policies of the various UK political parties standing in the forthcoming EU elections on 6th June.
Frank and Martin have blogged and analysed the parties responses to questions in the following areas on their own sites:
Evidence Matters would also like to draw your attention to the blogger ‘gimpy’, whose correspondence with the Green Party about some of their policies leads him to believe that it has the potential to destroy biological research and to ‘holfordwatch’ who have grave concerns with the Green Party’s policy on alternative medicine.
Evidence Matters is in full agreement with Frank and Martin in concluding:
[…] we were pleasantly surprised by the main parties, who seem to have reached a consensus on a variety of scientific issues. One notable exception to this was in the area of alternative medicine, where there appears to be a crippling lack of action on government and opposition benches.
The minor parties are a much more mixed bunch, and one wonders if voters seeking to register protest votes with the likes of UKIP and the Greens realise that they are supporting parties that apparently contain creationists and climate denialists (UKIP), and supporters of quackery (The Greens).
Martin Robbins can be contacted at
Evidence Matters can be contacted at

Evidence Matters is an independent, loose association of bloggers with a special interest in accurate science coverage and the use of appropriate evidence in decision-making. At present it is a means of contacting organisations and letting people know about stories that aren’t being covered or gross distortions of particular issues.

Written by oatmealts

June 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized