Take Fact Checking Into Your Own Hands With Mayo Clinic’s 4 D’s
Even though The United Nations declared 2021 the international year of peace and trust, America has a long way to go before we can reconcile the rampant distrust and join the world in the UN’s sentiment. In the U.S.A. scientific research has become “fake news.” How? How did politicians discredit life-saving science (i.e., vaccines), the existence of viruses, and world-renowned credentials? It’s mind boggling. If you feel like the sea of other Americans lost in the ocean of doubt not knowing who or what to trust, here are a few of Mayo Clinic’s tips to becoming more aware, and self-reliant in your fact checking (as far as science is concerned). (Bauer, Brent. 2017 “Finding Good Research.” Mayo Clinic Natural Healing Special Edition page 85-86).
The 4 D’s that Ensure Science Reliability
The Web is a double-edged sword. One side is masses of information. The other side is also a tar pit of sticky misinformation, but how can we tell which is which? When it comes to science (which in this Covid Pandemic could save your life) it’s important to do a little extra digging instead of believing anything and everything. Dates, Documentation, and Double-checking, are Mayo Clinic’s “3 D’s.”
Science Publication Dates
I don’t mean the chemistry between two people. We’re talking about publication dates. Material lives forever in the cloud. There are no other cues like dust on a book, books buried on a shelf in a remote, poorly lit section of the library here. Where can you find it? Try these three easy steps below.
- Go to questioned webpage and scroll to the end of the URL in the search bar at the top of your screen.
- Next, add: (&as_qdr=y15) without the parenthesis to the end of the URL and click enter.
- The page should reload with dates now listed beneath each title.
Covid slammed the world with death out of nowhere. Scientists have scrambled to learn about it, test it, and in the process research has changed drastically at a rapid pace. Always be sure to check the dates on what research and articles to Keep up with the latest and safest research.
Again, almost anyone can publish anything. To know whether the article you’re about to read is really “fake news” or not, ask yourself these questions.
- Who operates the site?
- Are they a qualified scientist or health professional in the field of discussion?
- Where are the references?
- Is advertising clearly identified?
- Look for the logo from the Health on the Net (HON) at (www.healthonnet.org), this means the site follows Hon’s principles for reliability and credibility.
If the site is not a credible scientific source, like Mayo Clinic, CDC, or WHO—run, FAST! Also, if a politician says a source of science is “fake news” ask yourself, what does this politician (who is not a scientist) gain from saying that, or what is this politician trying to hide? Scientists by nature are trying to prove the truth of their studies. If the result can’t be duplicated, then it is debunked. The scientist loses credibility. Likewise (outside of science) if a hiker gives expert advice on swimming labeled as an athlete’s expert advice, would you believe it? Wouldn’t’ you consider researching the athlete’s area of expertise? I know, adulting super sucks sometimes, but being responsible is part of our job—darn it!
“The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things,…but that it should…lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them.”William Kingdon Clifford
How do you know if the data is factual, and what makes a good research study? There are two keys that define the quality of research. First, the method of the test, and the size of the study. The larger the study, the more evidence and information there will be. The six types of studies are as follows.
- Clinical Studies—are studies that involve humans. Tests on animals always precede humans. This category is also broken up into two types:
- Observational—means no treatment is administered. subjects are only observed.
- Interventional—is where reatment is given and monitored for safety and success.
- Randomized Controlled Trials—are studies where participants are randomly divided into two groups. The scientist knows which group has the actual treatment and which group has the placebo.
- Double-blind studies—This is the same as Randomized, however, the scientist does not know who has which the placebo or treatment.
- Prospective studies:
- Retrospective Studies—This is reviewing past data.
- Peer-reviewed Journals—This is information is reported and reviewed by an independent panel of experts, anonymous, and never paid.
When evaluating data look for clinical studies. Check which type of study it came from, how many people were included in the study, and be sure the scope applies to you. For example, if a study is conducted on how a virus affects lung tissue of patients who have undergone radiation treatment, be aware it may not react the same with your tissue if you have never had radiation treatments.
All scientific claims must be replicated, or they are not fact. If there’s no data or supporting evidence for the claims, it’s about as concrete as air. So other than checking the credibility of the speaker, looking for data, and relevancy of the post, what else can you check? Compare the information with other credible sources to see if the research or statements match. Does the World Health Organization’s (WHO) info regarding Covid match the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)? This sea of confusion can end, especially if we take research into our own hands. Remember, science is based on evidence, evidence is an absolute in the world of science. Science is not “fake news,” and it is also not a religion. Religion requires your heart and unquestionable faith before you receive testimony. Thankfully, Science is doesn’t require such sacrifice from the public, only the scientists themselves!