Featured Media Resource: This Is How You Spot Bad Science Reporting (Above the Noise/KQED)
How can you spot bad science reporting? Host Myles Bess helps you do just that by following this simple acronym: G – L – A – D.

ABOVE THE NOISE, a new YouTube series from KQED, follows young journalists as they investigate real world issues that impact young people’s lives. These short videos prompt critical thinking with middle and high school students to spark civic engagement. Join hosts Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary for new episodes published every Wednesday on YouTube.


Do Now

Determine which of these two sources does a better job of reporting this research. Which one do you think is more credible?

This App Says It’s As Good As The Pill At Preventing Pregnancy, But Experts Want More Evidence (BuzzFeed)

This App Is More Effective At Stopping You Getting Pregnant Than The Pill, Say Experts (The Huffington Post)

Apply GLAD, take this poll, and then tell us how you came to your conclusion. #DoNowBadReporting

How to Do Now

Do Now by posting a video response in this week’s Flipgrid.

You can also post your response on Twitter or in the comment section below. Be sure to include #DoNowBadReporting in your tweet.

Go here for more tips for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.


Science Reporting Gone Wild

In an era of sensationalized news and “alternative facts” it can be hard to figure out what to believe or not. And this is especially true when it comes to science and health news. Scientists are constantly publishing and presenting very technical research that then gets simplified by journalists who are looking to hook a general audience.There is a lot of room for error, or for major points to get hyped or lost in translation.

But crazy claims and bad science reporting dilutes the public’s understanding of science, which can have some big consequences. We need to make solid decisions–like how to vote, what to buy or what can make us sick. And these decisions can have major environmental and health implications.  

We’ve combed through resources, and talked to scientists, journalists and educators to come up with our top four tips for you to use to be a critical consumer of science news. We call it G.L.A.D. :

  1. Get past the clickbait
  2. Look out for crazy claims
  3. Analyze sources
  4. Determine outside expert opinions

Get Past the Clickbait
News stories often use sensational headlines that oversimplify or exaggerate the science to get the reader’s attention. Make sure you read or watch the whole story.

Look out for Crazy Claims
If the claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look out for words like “cure,” “breakthrough,” and “study proves.” Those are all signs that the story might be hyping the science.

Analyze Sources
What sources does the story cite? Are they referencing other news outlets? If so, like a game of telephone, it’s easy for science to get misconstrued as it trickles down from scientists to public relations people to the press. Is the story based on anecdotal information? For example, does the story make broad scientific conclusions based on one or two individuals’ experiences? Those stories are less trustworthy than those based on science research. Science news stories based on research published in a peer reviewed science journal are more legit than say a story coming from an organization or person trying to sell stuff.

Determine Outside Expert Opinions
Does this news story ask outside experts to comment on the research? Good reporting usually involves talking not only to the scientists that conducted the study, but also to others that weren’t directly involved. These scientists can comment on how the research fits in with the larger body of evidence in a given field.

Just make sure the experts being interviewed are actually qualified to talk about the topic. Having a Ph.D in astrophysics doesn’t automatically qualify you to talk about advances in marine biology.
Use these tips to be a more critical consumer of science news.


More Resources

INTERACTIVE: Data and Documents Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? (Science)
“Between January and June 2013, Science contributing correspondent John Bohannon submitted 304 fake research papers to open access journals.” Find out which publications failed his test.

ARTICLE: Untangling Media Messages and Public Policies (Understanding Science)

ARTICLE: 10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science (Forbes)

 

  • Zoe Atava

    The increase in hate speech since Trump has been inagurated continues to be very alarming. I do believe in the importance of free speech. In the right environment, all kinds of speech should be welcomed. In a perfect world, everyone would be able to express what they are passionate about, believe in and support. Furthermore, people who disagree could find their voice and have the ability to respond. It is also a strong skill to have to ignore speech and develop self confidence to not allow the hateful words of anyone else affect a persons self worth. However, this is not the world we live in today. In this world there is plenty of violence and intolerance. I believe teachers and administration should foster free speech, without necesarily welcoming hate into their campus. I believe that only ignites the kinds of free speech that are negative and ineffective. This is a kind of speech that benefits no one and targets most everyone. In order to maintain a comfortable and safe learning environment, I believe seminars and safe places should be available to everyone. A possible consequence could be an informational seminar about the power of words. There are many ways to maintain the safety of students and I believe that that should be top priority.
    https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/hatecrimes #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFreeSpeech

  • Kanako

    These days, free speech seems to be one of the biggest problems in the U.S. It is true that we need to reconsider word choice, but I don’t think only controlling students’ word choice works enough because students can say whatever they want outside of campus. So instead of focusing on free speech, I think students need more opportunities to improve their empathy. Students need to realize what they would feel if others insulted them, and this will help students reconsider their word choice.
    #DoNowFreeSpeech #MyCMSTArgs @2ndheartmom

  • Adrian Astorga

    Personally I don’t think schools should limit speech. This would be just taking away people’s first amendment rights. The way I see it is words aren’t as meaningful unless acted upon. Since you can’t control what people say and everyone has the right to express their own opinion you can control how you react on what they said. Either relay on violence or a non-violent reaction. I don’t think it’s right to just not let someone express how they feel or what they are thinking just because you don’t agree with their opinion. This article also explains why it is not right to limit speech http://time.com/4530197/college-free-speech-zone/ #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowFreeSpeech

  • Jordyn R Huber

    I think the Buzzfeed article was better because it gave us way more information on the app and it also didn’t sound completely biased like the other article did. They pointed out both good and bad things while the Huffington Post sounded like it was trying to sell it rather than give women information on it.

    • Yasmin Gonzalez

      I agree that the buzzed article was a lot better in regards of information. It’s always better to see an article that includes both sides as it seems more credible versus one sided because it makes it seem like they could be advertising it instead of just providing information. Buzzfeed was more specific and helpful in general while the Huffington post didn’t do much for the reader. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowBadReporting

  • Brady Wielenga

    I think that Buzzfeed did a better job because they didn’t say that the scientist thought that it was more effective than the pill. Huffington didn’t really back up there statement at all. I think Buzzfeed did a nice job backing it up.

  • Callie Waite

    In my opinion the article from Buzzfeed was better. This article was not biased and told use many things about the app. Buzzfeed’s article told us how to use it, what it does and gave us many statistics but still told us that we should be careful to fully trust it because research was conducted by the makers of the app and was only for 20 to 35 year old for a short amount of time. On the other hand we have the Huffington Post’s article was biased, didn’t give us any information and was very vague.

  • Connor

    I think that the Buzz-feed article was way more enhanced. The reason why is because it gave thorough information. The information was high quality and it had a lot of research to back it up. The second article was trying to express how it is so good. It wasn’t giving good information about the app and that left me wondering about that article.

  • Claudia Phillips

    I would say the Buzzfeed article did a better job at reporting on the app. The writer of the Huffington Post article seemed like he either was just swallowing the support for the app, or concealing details and avoiding questioning them in order to shed a better light on the app, the latter more likely and neither good. The writer of the Buzzfeed article took both the good and bad sides of the app into account, and reported on the factors that kind of lessened the supporting study’s credibility.

  • Ethan

    I think buzz-feed did it better, it had a lot more supporting details to back it up. Explained the app better.

  • Khristian Beeck

    I kind of think that Buzzfeed did much more of a better job of describing what the app was. I thought this was pretty surprising, actually. I would think that the Huffington post would support a better article than Buzzfeed. But, whatever. I also think that Buzzfeed had alot more info about the app than the Huffington post.

  • Kaden Teunissen

    I believe that the buzz feed article was better than the Huffington post. The Huffington Posts article was short, and very little information was given when discussing the pros and cons of the app. Buzz feed did a great job on covering both pros and cons, and they also had many more facts and statistics. With all the stats and facts along with interviews I believe that the Buzz Feed article over the Huffington article.

  • Layne Miller

    I think that buzz feed did a better job reporting. Buzzfeed had way more information then huffington post. Huffington post didnt state hardly any information that had been taken from actual independent studies. If they did pull it from independent studies then they didnt cite their studies in the article words.

    • Tt

      I agree that the buzzed article was a lot better in regards of information, credible sources, and its overall explanation of the app. The article included both sides of the story and that makes it seem much more credible than a one-sided argument! Buzzfeed was overall more specific, credible, and helpful, while the Huffington post didn’t explain much for the reader. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowBadReporting

  • Izaak Reed

    I think the buzz feed did better. Buzz feed had more details and I could understand what was going on. I still think that both of the articles did a good job but buzz feed actually want women to get it, and they had more supporting details.

  • Jett Farrell

    I hate to say it, but I think that Buzzfeed did a better job reporting this story. I am always reluctant to choose Buzzfeed because of their clickbait type style. However, I did not think that the Huffington Post went as in-depth as Buzzfeed did. So, good for Buzzfeed, in my opinion, they won this battle.

    • Brian Luong

      I also thought that Buzzfeed did a way better job on covering this story. Although they are known to not be a reliable source and have had many controversies surrounding their journalistic credibility, they were able to interview many people in the field of health on their points of views. Although the Huffington Post is not technically a newspaper and tends posts articles from other media outlets, more effort should still be put into their work.

  • Brian Luong

    I was quite surprised after reading the two articles to say that Buzzfeed did a great job on covering the Natural Cycles app. Buzzfeed interviews multiple sources such as Dr. Susan Walker, a senior lecturer in sexual health at Anglia Ruskin University, as well as the head of the Family Planning Association and the vice president for clinical quality at the Faculty for Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. They even manage to get Natural Cycles co-founder Dr Elina Berglund on the story. Buzzfeed does not merely just accept the app in its entirety. They make sure to state that there has been no independent studies on the app’s true ability to prevent pregnancy because the only study that has been done is by the app’s creators. However, they are taking steps in order to improve their credibility by taking a larger sample size for their next study of 12,000 women and plan to publish it in a peer reviewed journal. The Huffington Post fails to acknowledge these points. They also use informal language such as “getting it on” and saying unprotected sex on fertile days is a “no-go zone”. Although Buzzfeed gets a bad reputation for being an incredible sources, they outdid The Huffington Post on this story. #DoNowBadReporting #MyCMSTArgs

    http://fortune.com/2015/06/05/buzzfeed-trust-problem/

  • Robert Gomez

    I think that the Buzz-feed article was more informative and was better at explaining the app. The Huffington Post did a good job at explaining but the buff-feed article seemed more organized and easier to to follow. The buzz-feed article had more research and back up towards it. While the Huffington post had good information it did seem a little more biased. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowBadReporting

    • Ciana Bell

      I completely agree. I feel that both Buzzfeed and Huffington Post did a great job when discussing the app, but Buzzfeed made much better use of their article than did the Huffington Post. When someone is trying to read an article and gain a better understanding of a product it is important that the article is easy to follow and well organized, thus making Buzzfeed more desirable. Also, a huge distinguishing factor between the two article that I noticed was their research to back everything up; as you mentioned. Overall I agree with your post and I feel your reasoning is valid. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowBadReporting

  • Ciana Bell

    Typically I have always felt that Huffington Post is a very informative and reliable source, however in this case I found that Buzzfeed did a better a much better job reporting the research of the app. As I read the two articles, I tried to apply GLAD to determine which was better at reporting. The reason that I felt that Buzzfeed did a better job than did The Huffington Post is because I felt in contained all four aspects of GLAD. It got “past the clickbait, look[ed] out for crazy claims, analyze[ed] sources, [and] determine[ed] outside expert opinions” in some way. Another reason that I felt Buzzfeed did a better job at reporting the app is because I felt it was written better. Whenever I am analyzing two sources of text, a major component that I take into consideration is how professionally and well written a piece of text is. In all, using both GLAD and my personal feelings, I can confidently say that the Buzzfeed article did a better job at discussing the research of the app. I have also attached an article from Forbes that describes how Buzzfeed and Huffington Post stack up. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2014/08/21/heres-how-buzzfeed-and-huffpost-really-stack-up/#7dd6fc4d6d82
    #DoNowBadReporting #MyCMSTArgs

  • Tt

    I must agree that BuzzFeed overall did a much better job in the article. They pulled multiple credible sources including Dr. Susan Walker, a senior lecturer in sexual health at Anglia Ruskin University, the head of the Family Planning Association and the vice president for clinical quality at the Faculty for Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, and even Natural Cycles co-founder Dr Elina Berglund to partake in interviews for the article. They discussed the studies done by the creators of the app and the lack of independent studies that had yet to take place. BuzzFeed also reported on the 12,000 women study, the app is currently working on and planning to publish in a peer reviewed journal, unlike the Huffington Post who fails to mention any of this. Overall this win goes to BuzzFeed in my opinion. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowBadReporting

    • Justis Haruo Kusumoto

      While I agree with your conclusion, I would partially disagree with some of your reasons. While Buzzfeed clearly had better evidence, it’s equally important to note that the Huffington Post did an insufficient job of connecting its evidence to its claims, which, were, at best dogmatic. In particular, it is important to note that the Huff Post article draws far more conclusions from its European government agency approval warrant than is appropriate considering the evidence, as they turn their word into a sort of warrant. However, I largely agree with you as they did use highly sufficient sources. Don’t forget to use GLAD.

  • Logan S.

    Bad reporting is a problem. We are not able to make solid decisions about our health and environment. These include how to vote, what to buy, or what makes us sick. (Bess, 2017) People nowadays create fake websites relying on click bait. For every person who clicks on the website, they bring in revenue from ads. The information on these sites are usually fake. This is because they have to make a claim that is crazy enough for you to want to look at it. By following the acronym G-L-A-D, one is able to quickly spot bad science reporting. (Farrar, 2017 pg. 12) By analyzing the sources one can most likely figure out that the information is fake and made up. It is also up to you to determine your opinion or seek guidance from an expert. An expert in my eyes is should be someone qualified to talk about the issue. If in today’s world, everyone posted fake click bait articles and websites, no one would have any idea how the world functions. We need to use our better judgement to help stop the people who think they can take advantage of people in an act to make money or just to create confusion among people. Claims such as, “Doctors don’t want you to know”, are usually all fake. (Forbes, 2012 pg. 2) If something needed to be done to help save someone, or cure a disease, why would doctors withhold information from us. It is there job to help people and cure them of sickness. These fake science reports need to come to an end. It is creating problems and altering people’s beliefs. In order to help counter act against these reports, we must get them from a reliable source instead of the internet.

  • Jake T

    With the tips that were given in the video, we can use G.L.A.D. (Bad Science Reporting 2017). We first have to look at G, get past the clickbait. Articles titles with something like cure, breakthrough, miracle, or studies prove (Bad Science Reporting 2017). Clickbait can be very deceiving because articles may seem or be titled one way but when you read through it, the case is explained and the true meaning of the article is found out. Next in the line is L; look out for crazy claims. Crazy claims like “Study Proves Eating Pizza Could Help You Lose Weight”, (Statz p.1 2016). Cleary everyone has reasonable common sense and can tell if something is too good to be true. If a breakthrough similar to that appeared, it would be on global news and the world would all be eating pizza. Next, Analyze Sources. It is important to study the facts proven from experts who have reputations is the science society. When reading an article from and alleged master, verify that he or she is really who he or she is. The second part of what I said is the last step, determine if the outside expert opinions are legit. Anyone could write an article and say that they are a science superstar but if you verify that they wrote the article, you can find out if it is real or fake. Between January and June 2013, Science contributing correspondent John Bohannon submitted 304 fake research papers to open access journals (Bohannon p.1 2013). This goes to show how easily fake work can be done.

  • Grace

    Can you spot bad science reporting?
    Personally, I believe it shouldn’t be difficult to spot bad science reporting, even in the age of “alternative facts”. There are those who make it their daily job to point fingers at the science community when their research and facts don’t align with their agenda. The real “fake news” stems from these agendas, not from actual scientists. The confusion is created by media, news outlets, and politicians who choose to ignore real life. Sometimes the news created by this small group of people is hysterical. For example, just because a hot-headed politician tweeted, “Global warming is a hoax,” doesn’t mean the science used to prove that it indeed is not a hoax is fake. It is appalling that some people vote those who deny facts into office.
    What do we want? Evidence based science. When do we want it? After peer review. Although, as discussed on Berkley’s “Understanding Science” webpage, some media outlets with a particular agenda choose to see the existence of ice as the number one insight against the existence of climate change. It is sad to me that people believe this. It just goes to show that unless people actually care about facts and researching to back their opinions up, we will have congressman bringing snowballs into the House. No, really, that happens.
    The real conspiracy is the denial of climate change. Emily Willingham stated in her article in Forbes, “Claims such as, ‘Doctors don’t want to know’ are extremely dubious. So, I try to make it a habit to not pay attention to those who say, “The left doesn’t want you to know that the earth is always warming and changing.” First, a blanket statement like this could always be true. Yet, it comes from those who fail to recognize or state facts with an analysis. For example, they leave out discussions on the rate of extinction, the record high temperatures, rising sea levels, and the high rates of severe droughts and heat waves. These occurrences are not ordinary.
    So, finally if anything can be taken away from this, always following the acronym “GLAD”. The video “This Is How You Spot Bad Science Reporting”, GLAD was defined as follows: Get past the clickbait. Look out for crazy claims. Analyze sources. Determine outside expert opinions. In even more simple terms, don’t use FOX News as a go-to climate change media source. Don’t use Facebook as a daily news source. And, just because it stills snows doesn’t mean our earth isn’t heating at a rate we have never seen before.

  • My moms a G.I. Joe

    I have personally seen many science studies with odd or really far cached titles. Then once i actually get down to reading the article its almost has no relation to the title itself. I read on once that said “How to make a thousand horse power cumming.” all the article talked about was how a piston was created. Did not tell me anything in relation to the title I was upset and quite reading from that specific magazine. I like the GLAD system these scientists have created to basically proof check the research and testing it helps to keep all the unethical reading out of the internet. Now there some tips to try to tell the difference. The two articles above are almost the same just different how they present each other. I would like to start with the titles the first title says “This app is as good as the pill at preventing pregnancy, But experts want more evidence. This title right here inst not saying its better than using the pill but, has the same purpose also this title says that testing inst over they want deeper into the app to figure more out. The next title is “This app is more effective at stopping you getting pregnant than the pill says experts.” This title tells me Hey!! This is the best thing yet this tells me that the experts are in awe and, this is the best contraceptive on the planet. However when I begin to read the article it just talks about recording your temperature which is cool but, the one title says its a life saver. There are many tips and tricks to learning what is and isn’t real but,start from the top down if the title looks odd then take it apart and try to understand what exactly the article is trying to get through to you then ask your self is it?

  • Craig

    Bad or false reporting has incorrectly swayed many people’s opinions on topics, no matter how important the topic is. Cosmo once reported that yellow foods are healthier for you to eat. An article by the washington post stating that hookworms could make millions of people healthier, when in fact it states in the article that it is protein that is produced by hookworms that can make people healthier. One way you can find what’s real and what’s not, is to use G.L.A.D, Get past the clickbait, Look out for crazy claims, Analyze sources, Determine outside expert opinions. Claims such as, “Doctors don’t want you to know”, are usually all fake. (Forbes, 2012 pg. 2). People nowadays create fake websites relying on click bait. For every person who clicks on the website, they bring in revenue from ads. Between January and June 2013, Science contributing correspondent John Bohannon submitted 304 fake research papers to open access journals (Bohannon p.1 2013). This goes to show how many links and stories posted on the internet cannot be trusted.

  • Living.like.larry

    I think that the article “This App Says It’s As Good As The Pill At Preventing Pregnancy, But Experts Want More Evidence” from Buzz-Feed is a lot more credible than the article from The Huffington Post. The article from Buzz-Feed has a lot more facts that are backed up by credible sources. The article from The Huffington Post, just told us straight out that it worked, and didn’t have much else to back it. I feel that The Huffington Post just wrote their article quick and easy, and just got to the point, But the article from Buzz-Feed took the time to explain how it all works, and get other people’s opinions and other facts about it to make sure it was true.
    There are a few tips to use when you are looking at articles, to see If they are real or not; G.L.A.D.G: Get past the click-Bait L: Lookout for Crazy Claims A: Analyze Sources D: Determine outside expert opinions. I used this to help me determine if the article from The Huffington post was true or not. The click bait, would have been the title, saying that experts are saying that the app is more effective at stopping you from getting pregnant. Look out for crazy claims, like in The Huffington Post, when they said that the app is 99.5% effective, compared to the pill. Analyze sources, if there were any. Determine outside expert opinions, but there weren’t any of those either, not very reliable if you asked me. So all in all, I’d have to say that the article from Buzz-Feed, seems a lot more reliable.

  • Oliver McCarthy

    Personally I am very skeptical of most news sources online, most if not all of my sources of news from from the top news reports like CNN, PBS, FOX, and NPR. Yes some of those sites are biased but if you compare contrasting news channels then you get all of the good and bad on each issue. Trusting news sources online has become a very inefficient way of getting accurate news. The websites with crazy claims like “ New studies have found that kale prevents cancer” ( Cosmopolitan, 2017). This article goes into how it is possible for kale to help defend against cancer, but how they said it was to reel you in and it works, a new study at Berkeley discovered “ we will click the more absurd claim because it is the more shocking claim” (Berkeley, 2017). Its apparent that these false claims are making people believe in something that is partially true.While the title is what draws us in it is also the thing we read the most, why spend time reading a whole article when the claim in right in the title? Well that is the exact issue “ we only read the title and assume that the rest is just a more in depth explanation of the topic” (Washington Post, 2017). In order to truly defend against all of the false claims online about miracles and new breakthroughs we have to know which sources are reliable and which aren’t and the best way to do that is by going to SNOPES which is an unbiased news fact checking website dedicated to finding trustworthy news reports.

  • Brooke Ponke

    With the easy accessible news through social media today, it is important to know what news you are reading is actually real. As it states in the video, you can weed out fake news by analyzing the source of the news as well as look for crazy claims made about the scientific study (Can You Spot Bad Science Reporting?, Lauren Farrar). When determining if a claim is factual, it is essential to see if there are other studies that back up the claim (Can You Spot Bad Science Reporting, Lauren Farrar). It states that the more studies that back up the claim, the more reliable it is. Looking at the language used in the article is also another way to conclude the truthfulness of the information given. Another key indicator of fake news is the language used in the article. It is known that many people think that if the article tosses in a bunch of science jargon terms to make you think that they’re the real thing, when in reality, it is the exact opposite (Forbes). The message being portrayed in the article is easily lost or garbled in translation (Understanding Science), therefore making it difficult to read about the intended information. This is because of quick communication through social media and other sites. Whether it is looking for the crazy claims made, finding supporting studies, or looking at the specific language in the article, there are many ways to determining the validity of information given.

  • Jake Larson

    Jake Larson 2nd hour 3-16-2017
    In the 21st century every newspaper, company, web conglomerate, etc. are looking for a way to grab viewers attention anyway they can. What this KQED article is stating is that article headlines with the title of, “Study Proves Eating Pizza Could Help You Lose Weight” for example, are practically bogus and the only reason these articles are out in the internet is for clickbait and ad revenue. In Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary Youtube video they use the acronym G.L.A.D to spot fake news articles and thwart any from coming in their vicinity. The acronym G.L.A.D stands for “Get past the clickbait, Look out for crazy claims, Analyze sources, Determine outside expert opinions,” (KQED Myles Bess). For most, bogus science studies out there I believe this acronym. You may think the only way this affects the consumers of the article is bad claims and ad revenue, but there are other causes that cause major consequences. “But crazy claims and bad science reporting dilutes the public’s understanding of science, which can have some big consequences,” (KQED Myles Bess). In this quote you can see how these bogus science article have a negative effect on the population consuming these articles. Personally, I think Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, and other news sites are doing this because they have figured out that people don’t want to actually read actual news, they want to read the article about the world’s cutest dog, or the grumpiest cat ever to live. As a society we should be ashamed for ignoring the actual news and only focusing on these studies that make ourselves feel somewhat accomplished or happy for a minute or two.

  • Allie Haas

    Can You Spot Bad Science Reporting?
    There are always times when I see on Facebook those bogus headlines that state something crazy like, “Study Proves Eating Pizza Could Help You Lose Weight.” This was one of the examples in the video, This Is How You Spot Bad Science Reporting (KQED). In this video it had ways you can see if a study or an article is real or not. They used the acronym G.L.A.D. which stands for: Get past the clickbait, Look for crazy claims, Analyze sources, Determine outside expert opinion. I think this strategy would be easy for people to use if everyone knew about it but the easiest way to solve this problem is by not having these bogus articles or studies. But in reality that option is not possible. We have so many of these articles because, “Scientists are constantly publishing and presenting very technical research that then gets simplified by journalists who are looking to hook a general audience.” Also it has been proven by the article, Untangling Media Messages and Public Policies, That “…some important parts of the scientific message can easily get lost or garbled in translation” (Understanding Science). Ultimately I’m going to look at those articles more carefully. If I read them in the first place.

  • Josh Markham (Reign Of Inverte

    Science and news are often closely related, with a high number of news articles being about new scientific discoveries/studies. The sad truth however, is that we are so used to reading things on the internet that we often assume things to be true even if they aren’t necessarily from a credible source. Crazy claims and bad science reporting dilutes the public’s understanding of science, which can have some big consequences. We need to make solid decisions–like how to vote, what to buy or what can make us sick. And these decisions can have major environmental and health implications (KQED Can you spot bad science reporting?, 2017, p.1). If it sounds believable, people will read it, share it, and boom. You have a viral report that is possibly not even slightly true. The article 10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science found on Forbes gives a general list of 10 things you can use to decipher fact from fake. Some of the questions are “What is the source? Were there real scientific processes involved?” If there’s no listed sources or they are extremely vague, you can likely assume it is mere clickbait. If you’re reading a non-scientific anything, remain extremely skeptical. What does the person or entity making the claim get out of it? Does it look like they’re telling you you have something wrong with you that you didn’t even realize existed…and then offering to sell you something to fix it (Emily Willingham, 2012, p.1)? One of the greatest marketing scam strategies of the modern world is to promise a solution to your target audience’s problems.
    So yeah, I think if a report doesn’t meet those 10 rules you should at least be skeptical as the article advises. In the case that it is true, maybe scientists will complete more studies and release more credible reports.

  • Emme Williams

    I believe that spotting bad science reporting is a fairly easy process if you truly know what to look for. If we believe fake reporting we are getting the wrong information that can help us in life. “How can we make solid decisions about our health, environment, how to vote, what to buy, and what can make us sick if we don’t understand the science” (This Is How You Spot Bad Science Reporting, Above the Noise). Miles Bess has come up with the acronym, GLAD, to help you identify if an article is credible. G, stands for get past the clickbait. L, stands for look for crazy claims. A, stands for analyze sources. And finally, D, stands for determine expert opinion. Clickbait is an over exaggeration of a headline to get a reader to click to the article. Look for things that are out of the ordinary within the article. Next, look to see if the sources of the information and see if they are credible people and or sites. Next, see if they used outside sources to confirm the data. These people may run an experiment based on the claim. For an example, between the two articles given on the KQED website you can see which parts are credible. ““The thing about the female egg is that it only lives for about 24 hours. So if you could reliably know when you’ve ovulated as a woman, and then you give that egg two or three days to die, any time after that in the cycle you will not get pregnant because there’s no egg to fertilise,” Dr Susan Walker, a senior lecturer in sexual health at Anglia Ruskin University, told BuzzFeed News” (This App Says It’s As Good As The Pill At Preventing Pregnancy, But Experts Want More Evidence, Buzzfeed). This statement from this article helps it become more credible because they sited a reliable source, Dr. Susan Walker. While Buzzfeed wrote an out of the ordinary statement without a credible siting, “‘But now, your iPhone could be the answer to your contraceptive conundrum. A smartphone app has been approved for the first-time ever as a viable techalternative to the more traditional safe sex measures on the market” (This App Is More Effective At Stopping You Getting Pregnant Than The Pill, Say Experts, Buzzfeed). This makes this article seem less true to the audience because it does not say where they found this information.

    If we can identify credibility we can more have access to breakthrough scientific finding that can help us move forward medically, or even in other aspects of our world, and that is why it is so important to remember how to identify.

  • Cecilia Murray

    Spotting bad science reporting’s, I think are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for. In the video 4 Tips to Spot Bad Science Reporting, Myles Bess talks about an acronym that can help you spot bad reports. G.L.A.D. Get past the clickbait, which is the over exaggeration of a headline in order to get people to click on it. Look out for crazy claims, crazy claims such as Everything bagels can cause infertile. Crazy claims are ones that most of the time are fake. Analyze sources, when you visit a website and you don’t know if you should trust it or not look for the source; where it came from and who wrote it. Determine outside expert opinions. When an article has a claim from somebody make sure that the person is credible. If you think about this acronym when reading news, it will be easier for you to be able to spot bad/ fake news. An article from the Huffpost Women based in the United Kingdom. They came out with an article saying that an iPhone app is more effective at stopping you getting pregnant than the pill. This sounds like a crazy claim so you go through the article and use the G.L.A.D. This article says that using smart algorithm so it will help tell you know when it is safe to get it on. But if you want this app to work you must take your temperature every day and record it in the app, by doing that it tells you how fertile you are. Buzz Feed came out with a similar article but since Buzz Feed isn’t always a credible source it is hard to believe something as crazy as an app that helps prevent pregnancy.

  • Jimmy Santos

    Can you spot bad science reporting?
    Analyzing fake news can often be a difficult task, the current article helps us verify fake or real news. Using techniques such as the GLAD technique mentioned in the Buzzfeed video attached to this article mentions using the process of GLAD. G: get past the click bait. L: look For Crazy claims. A: analyze sources. D: determine outside expert opinion. This helps you break down each individual to determine if its fake news or legitimate claims. Buzzfeed also mentions using other dependable sources which you can verify legitimacy to ensure the article is indeed an accurate science claim/Report. Buzzfeed’s article on the Fertility app would be determined as legitimate news because mentions resources and also tells us that researches do indeed need more evidence to verify this claim. Which lets us know this is not a scientifically proven claim but there may be an app that could assist us in female fertility cycles in the future. Fake news and claims have been categorized as a term called “clickbait” which is defined as false news sites that use over-exaggerated headlines to attract readers the links and ads are often paid for and the site makes a profit from the amount of clicks. This topic shines light on the fake news articles and gives us steps and tips to help verify fake news. You do not have to use this technique but i do recommend using reliable sources or check the cited sources in the article you may be reading.

  • jhanelle rhoden

    I think that the Buzz Feed article is a lot more reliable than the Huffington article because it has more evidence to support their claim. The Huffington post made claims but they had no evidence to support them. They claimed that the app is 99.5% more effective than the pill in which they had no evidence to support that crazy claim they made. As the Buzz feed stated “The thing about the female egg is that it only lives for about 24 hours. So if you could reliably know when you’ve ovulated as a woman, and then you give that egg two or three days to die, any time after that in the cycle you will not get pregnant because there’s no egg to fertilize,” Dr Susan Walker, a senior lecturer in sexual health at Anglia Ruskin University, told Buzz Feed News. Buzz feed made sure to have evidence to back up their claim.

  • Jalynn

    After reading the two articles, The BuzzFeed article and the article produced by the Huffington Post, I am feeling skeptical on the validity of these articles. Based on the video produced by Above the Noise and hosted by Myles Bess we learn that in order to find an accurate article you need to, “Get past the clickbait, look for crazy claims, analyze sources and determine outside expert opinion.” Let’s talk about the BuzzFeed article first. After watching the video, I noticed certain things. For one, the organizations and colleges they sourced were from places that I had never hear of such as, “FPA, Fertility UK, and Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists” (Oakes, 2017). To me, they don’t sound like very strong sources and that right off the bat makes me skeptical. This was something that the video warned about. The next thing that I noticed was that they cited somebody who actually works for the company who is trying to sell the app. “But for women like Natural Cycles co-founder Dr. Elina Berglund, who want an alternative to hormonal contraception, it’s an option worth pursuing” (Oakes, 2017). Another thing that the video warned against. Of course somebody will speak positively of something they are trying to sell to make money off of. In the second article by the Huffington post, the title captured my eye, because this was the first thing that the video warned against. “This App Is More Effective At Stopping You Getting Pregnant Than The Pill, Say Experts” (Gallagher, 2017). This headline would really capture your eye, and it is kinda out there, but what the headline doesn’t say is that there is not a whole lot of research on the topic. So it is not a good source. All in all, this video by Above the Noise has really helped me to see bad science reporting for what it is.

  • Logan Mansberger

    Logan Mansberger
    KQED
    16 March, 2017
    5th Hour

    Can you spot bad Science Reporting?

    Can you spot bad science reporting? I can’t be difficult for the average individual to discern what is false and what is actually true in the media today. Even with The President of the United States is waging a war on the media calling it biased and the acclaimed title “fake news;” this is currently the political climate that our society is facing today with the Trump era. According to a video, one of the major claims to focus on is the “outrageous science reporting claims,” (Farrar video, 1) An example such as this can be derived from KQED site that has a article on Women’s Pregnancy, “Natural Cycles is one of numerous apps that help women practice a method of contraception called natural family planning, also known as the fertility awareness method.” The struggle for the customer is to began to discover if this information is factual or false, many claims have arisen to find the truth of the statement. Emily Willingham from Forbes Magazine seems to have a step by step process to discover this, “1. What is the source? Is the person or entity making the claims someone with genuine expertise in what they’re claiming? Are they hawking on behalf of someone else? Are they part of a distributed marketing scam? Do they use, for example, a Website or magazine or newspaper ad that’s made to look science or newsy when it’s really one giant advertisement meant to make you think it’s journalism? (Willingham, 1) With tips like this it is possible to find the truth versus the bad Science Reporting in the media. The way to spot it is to focus on the details of the source.

  • Jason

    In today’s world, the media is as accessible as ever before. So in that case with such an open market newspaper, companies, etc. will do whatever it takes to get some extra revenue by using some bogus headline like “Eating Pizza can help you lose weight”. A video from Can you spot bad science reporting (KQED) used this as an example of clickbait. The authors of this article talked to scientists, journalists, and educators to come up the acronym of G.L.A.D which stands for Get past the clickbait. Look out for crazy claims. Analyze sources. And Determine outside expert opinions. This strategy can be effective for people as long as they can spot clickbait out of the blue and determine if a claim is too good to be true because let’s be honest, it probably is. This article titled “Untangling media messages and public policies” states that Media representations of science and science-related policy are essential for quickly communicating scientific messages to the broad public however, some important parts of the scientific message can easily get lost or garbled in translation. An easy solution for this would be to obtain a better understanding of science.

  • camron

    Fake or misleading scientific reporting is a growing trend in our vast outlet of social media, and it is important to determine what is accurate and what happens to be fake/click bait articles. The first step to determining if an article as bad science reporting is to apply common sense. If something appears too good to be true, or if it is an unreasonably big claim; look into it. A lot of these big attention grabbing headlines might be pushing facts aside in order to rope people in. Getting as many clicks on an article as they can is a motive for these reports and the better educated we are when it comes to spotting these falsehoods the better. But what can we do? There are many ways we can fact-check or analyse these doubtful science reports. Whether it is looking into sources, checking experts input, or simply reading on to find a new claim, we can separate fact from fiction and spot bad science reporting in our growing digital world.

  • TaiLi Samson

    KQED Fake Science Reporting

    With the recent increase in fake news absolutely plaguing the media during the past 2016 election, it does not appear a surprise that fake science reports and articles are emerging onto the scene. Although some phony science data may be easily pointed out and implausible, it seems as if the average media consumer also easily buys into fake science because they have been taught to be lead by scientists who have great titles and seem above significantly smarter than the rest of the population. Companies trying to market products to the public claim to use scientific data to prove that they work. “a shampoo advertisement claims that it has been scientifically proven to strengthen hair” (Berkley Untangling Media Messages). But, there are things that people can do to protect themselves from the fake reports if they so choose. An article from the Forbes news source goes into depth and explains ways the general public spot advertisement stating the valuable scientific messages: “certainly wouldn’t just suddenly appear one night on an infomercial”. It honestly seems strange that people are more likely to buy into messages and articles with some sort of scientific correlation, and are so quick to make judgements based on people that claim merit no matter what the degree. According to the KQED introduction, “. Having a Ph.D in astrophysics doesn’t automatically qualify you to talk about advances in marine biology”, which is another good suggestion to avoid being conned into alternative facts. People who may claim to have degrees could be hiding behind a screen or may be speaking about facts that their degree has no correlation to. Although science should be taken very seriously, caution should always been taken.

  • Nick H.

    In the world of technology bad reporting is becoming a problem. The real problems lie when the average reader of something like a scientific journal doesn’t know when the information it states is accurate. The writers of the articles usually make outrageous statements and “claims that sound too good to be true” (Can You Spot Bad Reporting?). The general audience needs to identify that the extremely outrageous claims like “five reasons why eating sausage and bacon every day is good for you” are false (Top 4 Tips to Spot Bad Science Reporting). What about the claims that could possibly be true, at least to your knowledge but aren’t? Most of the time “some important parts of the scientific message can easily get lost or garbled in translation” (Untangling Media Messages and Public Policies). This can lead to the title being somewhat accurate but not exactly in the way the average reader perceives it. The easiest and probably the fastest way to identify what information is accurate and what information is basically clickbait is to look at the source. If the article is from a reputable source then the information will most likely be accurate and in general lead you down a better path than if the article was found somewhere like a free to post on website. Another fairly easy way to tell if the information you have found is accurate is to check for the credibility of the information. Most of the time if the information you are reading about is what the author took away or noticed from a study or some other informational gathering system. If the author is basing their entire article off of a study of one person then there will most likely be some very big flaws in the data collected. A larger sampling size will add to the credibility of an article. The last fairly easily way to tell if information you find is accurate is to check to see if the experts in that particular field agree with the article. If the experts on a subject matter agree what the article is saying then there is an extremely high chance that the information is accurate.

  • Reid Goble

    Can You Spot Bad Science Reporting?
    There are many cases of bad science reporting such as a headline saying “Study Proves Eating Pizza Could Help You Lose Weight” (This Is How You Spot Bad Science Reporting, Above the Noise/KQED). It can sometimes be hard to distinguish what is real and what‘s fake in the news. Bad science reporting can result in people changing their behavior and decisions which can sometimes lead to bad consequences. “Everyday, we are bombarded with messages based on science” (Untangling Media Messages and Public Policies, Understanding Science). These messages that are supposedly based on science are what the article 10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science describes as pseudoscience or “fake” science dressed up, sometimes quite carefully, to look like the real thing” (Forbes). Besides the post about pizza helping you lose weight being seemingly obvious bad science reporting, there are ways to spot bad science reporting or pseudoscience that may not seem so obvious. The best way to know if it is bad science reporting is the sources that it comes from. The reader must tell if it is from a credited source, such as a magazine that is related to science. A reader should not necessarily believe a report from a news site that is not known for science. Another way is if it has crazy or seemingly exaggerated claims, usually these articles are based off of dressed up science. It is possible to spot bad
    science reporting if a reader knows how to spot it.

  • Justis Haruo Kusumoto

    Without even reading the articles, it was clear that the Huffington post article was making a crazy claim, while the Buzzfeed article cautiously appeared to defer to expert opinions. With those two critical contrasts in my analysis via the application of GLAD, it became obvious that the Buzzfeed article was more credible than the Huffington Post article. Furthermore, the Huffington Post drew weak and dogmatic connections between its supposed warrants and its conclusions, equating the judgement of a European government agency with a seal of approval on par with other contraceptive devices. However, the link between the warrants and that particular conclusion was extremely weak, and overly-assertive.
    This is potentially part of a larger trend of digital aggregation, where media companies and their subordinates (like Huffpost) take other journalists’ work and, through excerpts and linking, try to draw their web traffic away from the original to the Huff Post’s excerpt re-write. The New Republic documents it here: https://newrepublic.com/article/84509/huffington-post-aggregation-google

  • Julia Blackmer

    KQED: Can You Spot Bad Science Reports?

    I’ve heard this a thousand times, “You can’t trust everything you read online.” Producers know what consumers want and will specifically target a certain group of people. For women, it’s anything from fad diets, fat burning pills, power balance bracelets and natural remedies. Remember when everyone thought Activa yogurt regulated your digestive system? Turns out it’s actually just regular yogurt. We are all victims to these persistent Ads on TV, commercials, billboards and pop ups online. In the Article, 10 Questions to Distinguish Real from Fake News, Emily Willingham gives us tips on how to recognize bogus news. These questions she wrote helps us determine if the source is credible. 1) What is the source? 2) What is the Agenda? 3) What kind of language does it use? 4) Does it involve testimonials? 5) Are there claims of exclusivity? “Everyday we are bombarded with messages based on science… Some important parts of the scientific message can easily get lost or garbled in translation” the Article Untangling Media Messages and Public Policies stresses to its readers. I am no scientist but you can tell if a source is trustworthy by good punctuation, grammar and by researching the topic even further. If it seems too good to be true, it’s probably is false information. Lauren Farrar from KQED advises everyone to use the acronym G.L.A.D when it comes to observing and determining if a science report is false. G is for get past clickbait. L is look out for crazy claims. A is for analyzing resources and D is determine outside expert opinion.

Author

Lauren Farrar

Lauren has a background in biology, education, and filmmaking. She has had the privilege to work on a diverse array of educational endeavors and is currently a producer for KQED Learning's YouTube series Above the Noise. Lauren's career has taken her to the deepest parts of the ocean to film deep sea hydrothermal vents for classroom webcasts, into the pool to film synchronized swimmers to teach about the pH scale, and on roller coasters to create a video about activation energy. And, she’s done it all for the sake of education. Lauren loves communicating science! Follow her on twitter @LFarrarAtWork

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